At the end he won; Pope Benedict XVI transformed the last audience of his pontificate into a moving experience of Christian joy. Even at the moment of leaving. The General Audience of Wednesday, 27 February, was above all the gathering of a great and united family. 150,000 people, maybe more, packed together once again to be close to their father, who from tomorrow on will be hidden to the world, but, he assured them, this is not a renunciation “of the cross”. He will remain at the foot of the Crucified One “forever”.
Like this, there was no room for sadness. Indeed, it was grasping the meaning of the Pope's words, his serenity. This morning a mass of people gave body to the joy conveyed in his words, so powerful in dispelling fear and confusion. The crowded spilled from St Peter's Square into Piazza Pio XII and even into Via del Conciliazione almost down Castel San Angelo. Seats had been taken since the early hours of the morning. A triumph of signs, some very colourful: “Benedict XVI pope again!”, “We miss you already!”, “We will miss you” (surround many sad-face emoticons), “Always with the Pope”, “Benedict, hide us with you in Christ”, “Stay here with us”, and countless signs with the simple words: “thank you”.
It was in many ways a party, a real party.
St. Peter’s Square
Feb. 28, 2020
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