Feb. 13 - In his first public comments since announcing his resignation, Pope Benedict XVI says he is fully aware of the gravity of his decision. Simon Hanna reports.
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In his first public comments since he announced that he'll resign his post, Pope Benedict XVI said he was fully aware of the gravity of his decision.
He added, though, that he was confident it wouldn't hurt the Church.
(SOUNDBITE) (Italian) POPE BENEDICT XVI, SAYING:
"I took this decision in full freedom for the good of the Church after praying for a long time and examining my conscience before God. I am well aware of the gravity of such an act but at the same time aware of not being able to carry out my ministry with the physical and spiritual force that it requires."
Some 8,000 faithful and tourists turned out for the address.
An Ash Wednesday mass held in St. Peter's Basilica will be Benedict's last public mass - unless the Vatican changes his schedule.
The pope is the first head of the Roman Catholic Church to resign since Gregory XII stepped down in 1415.
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