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Thousands gather for Pope Benedict’s final general audience

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Thousands gather for Pope Benedict’s final general audience
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VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI held his final general audience before he steps down from the papacy. Tens of thousands of people gathered at Saint Peter's Square in Vatican City early Wednesday morning for their final chance to see the Pope.

The weekly general audience is generally held indoors in a large auditorium, but it was moved outside to be able to accommodate the crowd.

The Pope is set to meet Cardinals in Rome tomorrow before his resignation goes into effect. The Vatican announced on Tuesday that Pope Benedict will be known as "Pope emeritus Benedict the 16th" or "Roman Pontiff emeritus Benedict the 16th.”

Father Ken Doyle from the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese says many are on board with the Pope Benedict's decision to step down.

"All of the polling data that I've seen over the past couple of weeks have shown wide support for the Pope's decision that it's a mature and unselfish decision. And the Pope had said in the past if he ever arrived in a situation where he felt that his health compromised his responsibilities, he would step down and so he's acted upon that," said Father Doyle.

Earlier this week, the Pope signed a document that could push up the conclave for Cardinals to decide on a new Pope.

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