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Pope greets pilgrims for last time

Vatican City -

Pope Benedict XVI is greeting pilgrims in St Peter's Square for the final time before retiring, waving to tens of thousands of people who have gathered to bid him farewell.

Pope Benedict XVI blesses a baby as he rides around St Peter's Square to hold his last general audience at the Vatican. Credit: REUTERS

Benedict was driven around the square in an open-sided vehicle, surrounded by bodyguards. At one point he stopped to kiss a baby handed up to him by his secretary.

St Peter's was overflowing and pilgrims and curiosity-seekers were picking spots along the main boulevard nearby to watch Wednesday's event on giant TV screens. About 50 000 tickets were requested for Benedict's final master class on the Catholic faith, but Italian media estimated the number of people actually attending could be double that. - Sapa-AP

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