It is Official: The Seat of the Pope is Vacant
Exactly 8 PM of February 28, as reported by CNN, “torchlit crowds stood before the gates of the Castel Gandolfo residence, waiting to see the Swiss Guards, the soldiers who traditionally protect the pope, salute and close the doors on the stroke of 8 p.m.
“I am happy to be with you, surrounded by the beauty of creation and your well wishes, which do me such good. Thank you for your friendship and your affection.
“You know that this day is different for me than the preceding ones. I am no longer the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church, or I will be until 8 this evening and then nolonger. I am simply a pilgrim beginning the last leg of his pilgrimage on this earth. But I would still [applause] … thank you … I would still – with my heart, with my love, with my prayers, with my reflection, and with all my inner strength – like to work for the common good and the good of the church and of humanity. I feel very supported by your kindness. Let us go forward with the Lord for the good of the church and the world. Thank you. I now wholeheartedly impart my blessing.
“Blessed be God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Good night! Thank you all!”