Benedict Resigns As Pope, First To Step Down In 600 Years - FOX 35 News Orlando

Benedict Resigns As Pope, First To Step Down In 600 Years

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Benedict XVI waves goodbye before boarding a helicopter at Vatican City Thursday. Benedict XVI waves goodbye before boarding a helicopter at Vatican City Thursday.
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ROME -

Benedict XVI officially stepped down as leader of the Catholic church Thursday to become the first pontiff in centuries to resign.

Benedict left Vatican City by helicopter, where he was flown to nearby Castel Gandolfo.

Thousands lined the streets and watched on a large jumbotron outside of Vatican City as the now former pope left the area for the final time.

Before stepping down, Benedict met with more than 100 cardinals in the Vatican's Clementine Hall to offer his blessing and promise to support his successor.

Benedict is now the first pope in 600 years to resign.

The College of Cardinals will soon start the process of selecting a new pope when the conclave begins.

A Vatican spokesman tells FOX News Benedict will spend the rest of his time dedicated to prayer, reflection, study and writing.

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