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Pictures | Thu Feb 28, 2013 | 2:21pm EST

Benedict's reign ends with a promise to obey next pope

Pope Benedict XVI speaks to the faithful for the last time from the balcony of his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo February 28, 2013. Pope Benedict left the Vatican on Thursday after pledging unconditional obedience to whoever succeeds him to guide the Roman Catholic Church at one of the most crisis-ridden periods in its 2,000-year history. REUTERS/ Tony Gentile ( ITALY - Tags: RELIGION)

Pope Benedict XVI speaks to the faithful for the last time from the balcony of his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo February 28, 2013. Pope Benedict left the Vatican on Thursday after pledging unconditional obedience to whoever succeeds him to...more

Pope Benedict XVI speaks to the faithful for the last time from the balcony of his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo February 28, 2013. Pope Benedict left the Vatican on Thursday after pledging unconditional obedience to whoever succeeds him to guide the Roman Catholic Church at one of the most crisis-ridden periods in its 2,000-year history. REUTERS/ Tony Gentile ( ITALY - Tags: RELIGION)
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Pope Benedict XVI waves as he appears for the last time at the balcony of his summer residence in Castelgandolfo, south of Rome, February 28, 2013. REUTERS/Max Rossi (ITALY - Tags: RELIGION)

Pope Benedict XVI waves as he appears for the last time at the balcony of his summer residence in Castelgandolfo, south of Rome, February 28, 2013. REUTERS/Max Rossi (ITALY - Tags: RELIGION)

Pope Benedict XVI waves as he appears for the last time at the balcony of his summer residence in Castelgandolfo, south of Rome, February 28, 2013. REUTERS/Max Rossi (ITALY - Tags: RELIGION)
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A nun waves her handkerchief from a window as Pope Benedict XVI makes his final address at Castelgandolfo, February 28, 2013. Pope Benedict slips quietly from the world stage on Thursday after a private last goodbye to his cardinals and a short flight to a country palace to enter the final phase of his life "hidden from the world". REUTERS/Tony Gentile

A nun waves her handkerchief from a window as Pope Benedict XVI makes his final address at Castelgandolfo, February 28, 2013. Pope Benedict slips quietly from the world stage on Thursday after a private last goodbye to his cardinals and a short...more

A nun waves her handkerchief from a window as Pope Benedict XVI makes his final address at Castelgandolfo, February 28, 2013. Pope Benedict slips quietly from the world stage on Thursday after a private last goodbye to his cardinals and a short flight to a country palace to enter the final phase of his life "hidden from the world". REUTERS/Tony Gentile
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Pope Benedict XVI blesses the faithful for the last time from the balcony of his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo February 28, 2013. Pope Benedict left the Vatican on Thursday after pledging unconditional obedience to whoever succeeds him to guide the Roman Catholic Church at one of the most crisis-ridden periods in its 2,000-year history. REUTERS/ Tony Gentile

Pope Benedict XVI blesses the faithful for the last time from the balcony of his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo February 28, 2013. Pope Benedict left the Vatican on Thursday after pledging unconditional obedience to whoever succeeds him to guide...more

Pope Benedict XVI blesses the faithful for the last time from the balcony of his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo February 28, 2013. Pope Benedict left the Vatican on Thursday after pledging unconditional obedience to whoever succeeds him to guide the Roman Catholic Church at one of the most crisis-ridden periods in its 2,000-year history. REUTERS/ Tony Gentile
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Pope Benedict XVI leaves as he appears for the last time at the balcony of his summer residence in Castelgandolfo, south of Rome, February 28, 2013. REUTERS/Max Rossi (ITALY - Tags: RELIGION)

Pope Benedict XVI leaves as he appears for the last time at the balcony of his summer residence in Castelgandolfo, south of Rome, February 28, 2013. REUTERS/Max Rossi (ITALY - Tags: RELIGION)

Pope Benedict XVI leaves as he appears for the last time at the balcony of his summer residence in Castelgandolfo, south of Rome, February 28, 2013. REUTERS/Max Rossi (ITALY - Tags: RELIGION)
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A helicopter carrying Pope Benedict XVI takes off from inside the Vatican on its way to the papal summer residence at Castelgandolfo, February 28, 2013. Pope Benedict slips quietly from the world stage on Thursday after a private last goodbye to his cardinals and a short flight to a country palace to enter the final phase of his life "hidden from the world". REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

A helicopter carrying Pope Benedict XVI takes off from inside the Vatican on its way to the papal summer residence at Castelgandolfo, February 28, 2013. Pope Benedict slips quietly from the world stage on Thursday after a private last goodbye to his...more

A helicopter carrying Pope Benedict XVI takes off from inside the Vatican on its way to the papal summer residence at Castelgandolfo, February 28, 2013. Pope Benedict slips quietly from the world stage on Thursday after a private last goodbye to his cardinals and a short flight to a country palace to enter the final phase of his life "hidden from the world". REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
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Pope Benedict XVI waves as he appears for the last time at the balcony of his summer residence in Castelgandolfo, south of Rome, February 28, 2013. REUTERS/Max Rossi

Pope Benedict XVI waves as he appears for the last time at the balcony of his summer residence in Castelgandolfo, south of Rome, February 28, 2013. REUTERS/Max Rossi

Pope Benedict XVI waves as he appears for the last time at the balcony of his summer residence in Castelgandolfo, south of Rome, February 28, 2013. REUTERS/Max Rossi
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