Vatican City

Outgoing pope applauded at penultimate general audience

Benedict XVI set to step down February 28

Outgoing pope applauded at penultimate general audience

Vatican City, February 13 - Pope Benedict XVI was welcomed by a long, loud ovation of applause on Wednesday when he entered the Paul VI hall in the Vatican for his penultimate general audience. It was the 85-year-old German pontiff's first public appearance since he shocked the world on Monday by announcing he would step down at the end of the month. Benedict waved at the faithful with a big smile on Wednesday. He will celebrate what is expected to be his last public Mass as pope later on Wednesday with an Ash Wednesday service in St Peter's Basilica.

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