From VOA Learning English, this is IN THE NEWS in Special English.
Pope Benedict gave his last public blessing this week to tens of thousands of people in Saint Peter's Square in the Vatican, the church's administrative center. The resignation of the leader of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church took effect Thursday.
On Wednesday, the 85-year-old leader took one final ride through the square in his open vehicle. He stopped at times to bless a baby. Later he told the crowd that he has been through some moments that were "not easy." The pope said, "To love the Church also means having the courage to take difficult decisions." Some observers said the comment was a reply to his surprising decision to resign.
Pope Benedict Steps Down
Benedict recognized that his decision was not expected. He told Catholic believers that he made the move with what he called "profound serenity of spirit." The most recent papal resignation was almost 600 years ago, when Pope Gregory the Twelfth stepped down.
Father Thomas Rosica, the director of a Catholic television network in Canada, was among those listening to Benedict's final address. Father Rosica says the pope's decision to resign is a way of teaching Catholics about surrender.
"Pope John Paul II taught us the profound lesson of his papacy, especially in the final years, about suffering and dying. Pope Benedict has taught us another lesson. He's taught us about surrender. We don't cling to power and authority and office and privilege, when our energies are no longer there."
Benedict said the Church had troubles and "stormy waters" during his eight-year leadership. But, he said God will not let the institution sink. He urged all Catholics to always put the good of the Catholic Church before their own personal desires.
The pope has had to answer accusations of corruption and sexual abuse by Catholic clergy members. He has dealt with the leak of thousands of private documents that reportedly show dishonor in the church. And, there has been a decrease in the Catholic faith within Europe.
Before leaving on Thursday, Benedict said goodbye in private to Roman Catholic cardinals. He urged these high-level officials to unite as they prepare to choose the next pope among their number.
Pope Benedict will now be called "pope emeritus" and continue to wear the white clothing he wore while serving as pope. Many people have criticized the decision to let him stay in the Vatican. They say his presence could create tension with the new ruling pope. Pope Benedict has said he plans to live quietly in prayer and meditation in his words, "hidden to the world." He also promised to show "unconditional reverence and obedience" to the next pope.
The Pope left the Vatican Thursday by helicopter and arrived at his new temporary home, Castel Gandolfo, south of the Vatican. He will return to the Vatican and live in what is called a convent in a few months.
In a final message on his official Twitter account, the leader of the world's more than one billion Catholics thanked his followers for their "love and support." He also wrote, "May you always experience the joy that comes from putting Christ at the center of your lives."
1.serenity n. 平静，宁静；晴朗，风和日丽
The explosion of bombs rent the serenity.
"The solution of a mystery of this magnitude is totally unpredictable, " said Freeman Dyson, a professor emeritus of physics at Princeton University in New Jersey.
3.meditation n. 冥想；沉思，深思
I'm sorry to interrupt your meditation.
很抱歉， 我打断了你的沉思 。
周三，85岁的本尼迪克乘着自己的敞篷车在广场做了最后一次巡游，他停下来几次来祝福一名婴儿，随后告诉会众自己目前正处于“不容易”的时候，教皇说，“热爱教堂也意味着要有勇气做出艰难的决定 。”有评论家称这是对其突然辞职的解释 。
本尼迪克承认这个决定出人意料，他告诉基督教信众，他是以一种“深远沉静的精神”来做出此举的 。上次教皇辞职是在600年前，当时是教皇格里高利第十二辞职 。
神父托马斯·鲁卡斯是加拿大天主教电视网络主任，他也聆听了教皇的最后致辞 。鲁卡斯神父说，教皇决定辞职，也是在教育基督徒学会放弃 。
“约翰·保罗二世在任职期间教导我们了这一深刻的道理，尤其是在最后的几年中教育我们关于痛苦和死亡的道理 。本尼迪克教皇教育我们另一个道理，他教会我们放弃 。当我们力不从心时，应该放弃权力、权威、职位和特权 。”
本尼迪克说，教皇在他8年的任职期间遭遇困境和险境，但他说，上帝不会让教堂堕落的 。他敦促每位基督徒始终将基督教堂的善行置于个人的欲望之前 。
教皇还要回答对天主教神职人员的腐败和性侵指控，教堂还泄露了数千份私密文档，据悉这令教堂名誉扫地，本尼迪克一直在处理此事 。目前欧洲对天主教的信仰正在下降 。
在周四离职之前，本尼迪克还私下向罗马天主教红衣主教告别 。他敦促这些高层官员团结一致，在成员内部选举下一任教皇 。
本尼迪克教皇将被改称为“荣休教宗”，将仍穿着任教皇期间的白色衣服 。许多人批评让他留在梵蒂冈的决定，他们称这将会在新教皇之间创造矛盾 。本尼迪克教皇说，他准备“隐遁独居”，安静地祈祷和沉思 。他还承诺向下届教皇展现“无条件的尊敬和服从 。”
教皇将于周四离开梵蒂冈，乘坐直升机回到新的暂居地，地点是梵蒂冈南部的冈多菲堡 。数月后他将回到梵蒂冈，住在目前被称为修道院的地方 。