Pope Benedict XVI arrives in St. Peter's Basilica on the occasion of the celebration of Ash Wednesday mass at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a solemn period of 40 days of prayer and self-denial leading up to Easter. Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was resigning for "the good of the church", an extraordinary scene of a pope explaining himself to his flock that unfolded in his first appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement. Looking tired but serene, the 85-year-old Benedict basked in more than a minute-long standing ovation when he entered the packed hall. Image: Alessandra Tarantino/Associated Press.
Pope Benedict XVI adjusts his glasses during his weekly general audience in the Paul Vi Hall at the Vatican, Wednesday, February 13, 2013.
Pope Benedict leads his weekly general audience at the Paul VI hall at the Vatican, Wednesday, February 13, 2013. The 85-year-old Benedict basked in more than a minute-long standing ovation when he entered the packed audience hall for his traditional Wednesday audience. He was interrupted by applause by thousands of people, many o whom had tears in their eyes.
The Faithful hold banners in Latin, Nihil Amori Christi Praeponere (Prefer nothing to the love of Christ), left, and in Italian Grazie Santita' (Thank you Your Holiness) during Pope Benedict XVI's weekly general audience in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican Wednesday, February 13, 2013.