Excerpts from Pope Benedict's final address

Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:17pm EST
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VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict bid an emotional farewell at his last general audience on Wednesday, acknowledging the "rough seas" that marked his papacy "when it seemed that the Lord was sleeping".

Here are excerpts from his last address as pope to more than 150,000 people in St Peter's Square translated by Reuters from Italian:

"I feel I am carrying all of you with me in prayer ... gathering together every meeting, every trip, every pastoral visit. I gather everything and everyone in prayer to entrust them to the Lord, because we have full knowledge of his will in every wisdom and spiritual knowledge, and so that we can behave in a manner worthy of him and his love, so that every good work bears fruit."


"There were moments of joy and light, but also moments that were not easy ... there were moments, as there were throughout the history of the Church, when the seas were rough and the wind blew against us and it seemed that the Lord was sleeping."


"I took this step in the full knowledge of its gravity and rarity but with a profound serenity of spirit".


"In these last few months I felt that my strength had diminished, and I asked God earnestly, in prayer, to enlighten me to make the best decision, not for my sake, but for the good of the Church. I took this step in the full knowledge of its gravity and its newness, but with a deep serenity of the spirit. To love the Church also means having the courage to make difficult choices, painful choices, always putting the good of the Church before our good."   Continued...