VATICAN CITY (February 24, 2013)--Pope Benedict XVI has given his pontificate's final Sunday blessing from his studio window to the cheers of tens of thousands of people in St. Peter's Square below.
Benedict said even though he's retiring on Thursday from the papacy, the first pope in 600 years to do so, he's "not abandoning the church."
Instead he said he'll serve the church with the same dedication he has until now, but will do so in a way "more suitable to my age and my strength."
Benedict, 85, will spend his last years in prayer, meditation and seclusion in a monastery on Vatican City's grounds.
He has one more public appearance, at his weekly audience on Wednesday in the square.