Pope Benedict XVI gave his public farewell today, saying he had some good times, some pretty tough times, but forcefully defending his “grave” and “novel” decision to resign.

“I do not abandon the cross, but remain in a new way near to the Crucified Lord,” as our own Alessandro Speciale reports.

Full English translation of the papal “Auf Wiedersehen” courtesy of Vatican Radio.

As John Thavis notes, B16 also gave a big public hug to the Roman curia, which has come in for a lot of criticism from the men who will be electing Benedict’s successor next month.

Australia’s Cardinal George Pell is the latest to ding the curia, and the pope himself, just a bit.

But look, the pope is a saint compared with the last Benedict to resign the papacy. Dan Burke has the fascinating historical tale, with some modern relevance.

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