By John Thavis and Francis X. Rocca

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY – During his almost eight-year pontificate, Pope Benedict XVI impressed the world as a teacher, guiding Catholics to the sources of the faith and urging modern society not to turn its back on God.

The relics of St. Celestine V, a 13th-century pope who resigned, are seen as Pope Benedict XVI celebrates Mass during a 2010 pastoral visit to Sulmona, Italy. Pope Benedict said he would resign at the end of the month because he no longer has the energy to exercise his ministry over the universal church. St. Celestine V, a hermit elected at the age of 80 who became overwhelmed by the office, was the last pope to freely resign from the papacy. CNS photo by Giampiero Sposito | Reuters

 

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