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Watch the Pope Leave the Vatican by Helicopter

Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation is the first the world has seen in nearly 600 years

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    Pope Benedict XVI is saluted by Swiss guards as he leaves the Synod hall after a meeting with Cardinals and Bishops at the Vatican, Friday, Feb. 17, 2012. The Pontiff is scheduled to name 22 new Cardinals in a Consistory, Saturday Feb. 18, at the Vatican. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

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    Pope Benedict XVI’s departure from the Apostolic Palace to the summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome, will be covered by more than two dozen television cameras and broadcast by the Vatican Television Center.  

    Monsignor Vigano said the Pope’s departure by helicopter "will be a historic moment" and is considered extraordinary documentation of his last day.   

    In Benedict’s last public appearance as pope Wednesday in St. Peter’s Square, he spoke of moments of "joy and light" but also times of difficulty in his papacy when "it seemed like the Lord was sleeping."
    Prior to his helicopter departure, Benedict will meet privately with cardinals. The 8 p.m. UTC  time was chosen as the time to end his ministry as Pope because that’s when he usually ends his work day.  

    The Pope's resignation is the first the world has seen in nearly 600 years. Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi insisted last week that Benedict does not have a serious illness in particular.   

     
    The Vatican announced Tuesday that Benedict will be known as "emeritus pope" in his retirement, be called "Your Holiness," and continue to wear the white cassock associated with the papacy.

    He will continue to live in the Vatican. When asked why Benedict  is not returning to his native Germany, Lombardi said Benedict has been living in the Vatican for more than 30 years.