Pope Benedict XVI Officially Retires Today
Joseph Ratzinger also known as Pope Benedict XVI has officially steps down from his Papal post starting today, according to a CNN report.
The pontiff has left Vatican City today and was air-lifted by a helicopter to Castel Gandolfo where he'll stay for an unspecified period of time to rest his aging body and recuperate from his failing health.
The Pope talking from the balcony of Castel Gandolfo thanked the tens of thousands of people gathered there and said briefly "I am simply a pilgrim who is ending his path on this earth. Let's go forward in prayer with Christ. Thank you and good night."
In his final message on Twitter the pontiff also tweeted "Thank you for your love and support. May you always experience the joy that comes from putting Christ at the centre of your lives."
Additionally, in his final public farewell on Wednesday in front of a very huge crowd of people at St. Peter's Square the Pope had said "I took this step in full awareness of its gravity and novelty but with profound serenity of spirit."
Meanwhile, the Vatican has said that the moment the Pope's power officially expire at 8 p.m. tonight (February 28), the ex-pontiff will officially be known by the new title of "Roman Pontiff Emeritus" although he will still be addressed as "Your Holiness."
The former Pope will also keep his papal name of "Benedict XVI" and will not be referred to his original name and title Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, according to the Vatican.
The theologian 85-year old German-born Pope is the first pontiff to resign from his post since the beginning of the Middle Ages. The humble Pope was also the first pontiff who used Twitter to communicate his message to billions of Catholics around the world.