Religion of Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Source: BBC

Pope gives final address

Pope Benedict XVI will give his final address from the Vatican today before his official resignation tomorrow.

Crowds have already started gathering in St Peter's Square in the Vatican to see Pope Benedict, who will be known as "pope emeritus" after his resignation, according to the BBC.

As many as 200,000 people are expected to attend the 85-year-old pope's final address. He will be the first pope to voluntarily resgin in over seven centuries.

His successor will be chosen next month when the College of Cardinals will begin a series of meetings from 4 March to set a date for the conclave to elect the next pope.

Pope Benedict's replacement will be chosen by 115 cardinals, who are younger than 80 years old, through a series of ballots held in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel.

The successful election of a new pope will be announced by white smoke signals coming from the Sistine Chapel, while dark smoke signals will show that a new pope has not yet been chosen.

Cardinal Peter Turkson from Ghana has been a favourite to replace Pope Benedict. If elected he would be the first African pope since Pope Gelasius over 1,500 years ago.