Pope leaves vatican, enters retirement

CNC report from Rome
Added On March 2, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI has officially entered retirement, making him the first pope to resign in 600 years.

Meanwhile, the cardinals have initiated their complex process to elect the next leader of world's largest church.

Benedict XVI has left the Vatican on Friday for the papal vacation retreat in south Rome where he is expected to spend the next two months.

His departure was witnessed by thousands of emotional pilgrims, who cheered and waved flags in honor of the pope.

In Vatican, Benedict's fisherman's ring and seal are destroyed. While Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the camerlengo, will guide the church along with the College of Cardinals in absence of a Pope.

Due to Benedict's break from tradition that papacies end with a pope's death, the church will first hold an informal session before traditional rounds of talks begin on Monday.

So far, no clear hopeful has emerged from the 115 cardinal electors who are due to enter the Sistine Chapel for the conclave. There, they will elect the 266th leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.