Vatican City, 28 February 2013 (VIS) – At 11:00am in the Clementine Hall, Benedict XVI greeted the College of Cardinals, whose dean, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, addressed a short farewell to the Pope on behalf of all those present.
“It is with great emotion,” he said, “that the Cardinal Fathers present in Rome gather around you today, to once again express to you their deep affection and heartfelt gratitude for your selfless witness of apostolic service, for the good of Christ's Church and of all humanity.”
The cardinal recalled the words that, last Saturday at the end of the Lenten Retreat, the Pope addressed to his collaborators in the Roman Curia: “I would like to thank all of you and not only for this week, but for these past eight years that you have borne with me—with great skill, affection, love, and faith—the weight of the Petrine ministry.”
“Beloved and revered Successor of Peter,” the cardinal exclaimed, “we are the ones who must thank you for the example you have given us in these eight years of your Pontificate. On 19 April, 2005, you joined the long line of successors of the Apostle Peter and today, 28 February, 2013, you are about to leave us, awaiting that the helm of Peter's Barque be transferred to other hands. Thus the apostolic succession, which the Lord promised to His Holy Church, will continue until the voice of the Angel of the Apocalypse is heard on earth, proclaiming 'Tempus non erit amplius ... consummabitur mysterium Dei' 'There shall be no more delay. ... The mysterious plan of God shall be fulfilled!' Thus will end the history of the Church, together with the history of the world, with the coming of a new heaven and a new earth.”