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Pope asks enthusiastic Vatican crowd to pray for him as well as successor

Faithful shout slogans as Pope Benedict XVI leads the Sunday Angelus in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, Feb. 17. Pope Benedict, speaking before a larger than usual crowd at his penultimate Sunday address, asked the faithful to pray for him and for the next pope.Alessandro Bianchi / Reuters
Pope Benedict XVI blesses the faithful.Tony Gentile / Reuters

The crowd chanted "Long live the pope!," waved banners and broke into sustained applause as he spoke from his window. The 85-year-old Benedict, who will resign on February 28, thanked them in several languages.


Speaking in Spanish, he told the crowd which the Vatican said numbered more than 50,000: "I beg you to continue praying for me and for the next pope".

-- By Philip Pullella, Reuters

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Updated Mach 5: Pope Benedict XVI waves to the faithful as he arrives in St. Peter's Square for his final general audience on Feb. 27, in Vatican City. (Christopher Furlong  / Getty Images)