On his momentous last day as Supreme Pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI addressed a crowd of nearly 200,000 people nestled into St. Peter's Square. My colleague Tiffany and I found refuge from the crowd after climbing inside the waterless fountain inside the Square, snuggling each other on top of a column while looking down on banners and flags from around the world and ahead to a historic crossroads.
After riding to the platform in the Popemobile, the 85 year old Pope inaugurated his last public appearance by thanking God for the beautiful weather. Indeed. He stressed that being Pope is both a great honor and burden and he is not giving that up with his choice to resign as St. Peter's successor. Rather he is handing over his throne to serve the Church in a different way, through prayer, study and written dialog. He will soon retreat to live in a former convent in the Vatican Gardens under the title of Pope Emeritus.
Along with the rest of the world, I am sure he is curious about the effect his break in tradition will have on the faithful and non-faithful, and without say, the politics in the Catholic state of Vatican City. In the meantime, he asked us to pray.