February 28, 2013. (Romereports.com)
The last meeting between Benedict XVI and the cardinals was full of emotion and a few fun moments. In all, 144 cardinals greeted the Pope personally
. But what stood out most was the announcement Benedict XVI made in his speech pledging absolute loyalty to the next Pope.
“Among you, in the College of Cardinals is the future Pope, to whom I promise my unconditional reverence and obedience.”
Each one of the cardinals was able to exchange a few words with the Pope. Several of the younger ones made him smile, among them Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, and Luis Antonio Tagle, archbishop of Manila.
For others, who had worked with him closely or have known him for many years, the moment was very memorable, and the Pope thanked them for their work. Standing next to the Pope, his secretary Georg Gaenswein was unable to hold back tears. The meeting started off with a thank you greeting by Cardinal Dean Angelo Sodano.
CARD. ANGELO SODANO
Dead of the College of Cardinals
“We want to express to you all of our gratitude. Together, we repeat to you a typical expression from your native land, 'Vergel's Gott,' may God compensate you for what you've done.”
After personally greeting all the cardinals present, the Pope also said goodbye to the top Curia members, and also took a group photo with the priests responsible for the papal liturgical ceremonies.