Pope Benedict says goodbye, promises ‘obedience’ to successor

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Pope Benedict XVI told cardinals Thursday that he would give them “unconditional reverence and obedience” in his retirement, which is due to take official effect at 8 p.m.

He also pressed his cardinals to stay unified and told them he would pray for them as they make their selection of a new pope, according to a report by The Associated Press. The College of Cardinals should operate “like an orchestra,” he said, with “agreement and harmony” at all times, the AP reported.

SEE ALSO: A reluctant leader, Pope Benedict leaves legacy of ‘new evangelization’

Around 5 p.m., the pope — who is the first to retire in 600 years — will leave the palace and fly to Castel Gandolfo, AP reports. His resignation will take effect right at 8 p.m.

That’s when the Swiss Guards at the palazzo go off duty, AP reports.

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