February 28, 2013 / 10:40 AM / in 5 years

Pope Benedict pledges obedience to successor

Pope Benedict XVI holds his last general audience in St Peter's Square at the Vatican February 27, 2013. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict, addressing cardinals on his final day in office, called for the Roman Catholic Church to unite behind his successor and pledged his own “unconditional” obedience to the next pontiff.

“I will continue to be close to you in prayer, especially in the next few days...as you elect the new pope to whom I today declare my unconditional reverence and obedience,” he said.

Reporting By Philip Pullella

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