Pope Benedict XVI has officially departed the Vatican by helicopter and Catholics all around the world have said goodbye to the Pope who will be formally known as Pope Emeritus as of 8 p.m. local time, three hours after he departed the Vatican. It was a historic scene at the Vatican as the Pope waved his final farewell to all those that came to send him off.
Prior to leaving the Vatican, Pope Benedict thanked the Cardinals as a group in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace. He said to them, “among you is also the future pope, whom I promise my unconditional reverence and obedience.” He also sent out a final tweet from @pontifex to all his followers: “Thank you for your love and support. May you always experience the joy that comes from putting Christ at the centre of your lives.”
For the next two months Benedict will be living at his Summer residence in Castel Gandalfo, and then move to his new permanent residence which is a Monastery behind St. Peter’s Basilica.
On February 11, Benedict made a shocking announcement to the world when he said he would be retiring due to his ailing health. While this past Sunday he reassured everyone that he was not abandoning the church but would continue to serve in his retirement, the decision has still sent the cardinals into a world wind as they now have to find a new Pope.
So who will the Conclave pick to be the next Pope? They convene on Monday to decide when to start the process but we want to know what you think. Let us know in the “comments” section below who you want to see be the next Pope.