Benedict made what is likely to be his last ever public appearance Thursday, thanking cheering crowds for their “friendship” as he steps down as leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.
“I am no longer the pope but I am still in the church. I’m just a pilgrim who is starting the last part of his pilgrimage on this earth,” he said.
Benedict’s historic resignation as pope takes effect at 8 p.m. (2 p.m. ET). KTLA’s Eric Spillman has more on what’s ahead.