By then I noticed it was nearly 3:00 a.m., and Pope Benedict XVI would soon be greeting his final public audience as the pontiff. I had to stay up to watch, and I was surely not disappointed.
Pope Benedict, as always, spoke warmly and sincerely. Those who have criticized him, like the aforementioned group, do so for what they think he says, not what he really says. I hope that you will take the time to read the full text found here, and check out a few of my favorites (below) from the address (emphasis mine):
Nevertheless, I always knew that the Lord is in the barque (boat), that the barque of the Church is not mine, not ours, but His - and He shall not let her sink. It is He, who steers her: to be sure, he does so also through men of His choosing, for He desired that it be so.
Here, one can touch what the Church is – not an organization, not an association for religious or humanitarian purposes, but a living body, a community of brothers and sisters in the Body of Jesus Christ, who unites us all. To experience the Church in this way and almost be able to touch with one’s hands the power of His truth and His love, is a source of joy, in a time in which many speak of its decline.
I said before that many people who love the Lord also love the Successor of Saint Peter and are fond of him, that the Pope has truly brothers and sisters, sons and daughters all over the world, and that he feels safe in the embrace of their communion, because he no longer belongs to himself, but he belongs to all and all are truly his own. The “always” is also a “forever” - there is no returning to private life. My decision to forgo the exercise of active ministry, does not revoke this. I do not return to private life, to a life of travel, meetings, receptions, conferences and so on. I do not abandon the cross, but remain in a new way near to the Crucified Lord.