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Faithful gather for pope’s penultimate prayer

Vatican City - Pope Benedict XVI called on the Church and its faithful on Sunday to “renew” and “refocus on God by disowning pride and egoism” in his penultimate Angelus prayer before he steps down.

“The Church calls on all its members to renew themselves... which constitutes a fight, a spiritual battle, because the evil spirit wants us to deviate from the road towards God,” he said from his balcony overlooking tens of thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

Pope Benedict XVI leads the Angelus prayer from the window of his apartments at the Vatican. Photo: AFP. Credit: AFP

The pope will eventually reside in a former monastery within the Vatican grounds, setting up an unprecedented situation for the Church in which a pope and his predecessor will live within a stone's throw of each other.

The exact role and title that the pope will have after he steps down is still undetermined although Lombardi has indicated Benedict who will revert to his name of Joseph Ratzinger could provide spiritual guidance to his successor.

“He will remain Benedict for us, that cannot change, but if we bump into him in the street I'm not sure what we'll call him,” said Vatican spokesperson Federico Lombardi this week.

There have even been questions about whether the former pope will be allowed to wear white like a pontiff or will have to revert to the black cassock.

Mindful of the precedent of two or even three popes reigning at the same time, senior prelates say the prospect of a pope and his predecessor living in the Vatican will be untenable and Ratzinger will eventually have to move.

A return to Germany or a move to another monastery have been mooted. - Sapa-AFP

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