(PHILSTAR) Social networks in the Philippines saw "Pope Benedict XVI" as an oft-discussed topic since the Roman Pontiff's final blessing on Wednesday night as a farewell gesture.

A screengrab of Instagram's "Photoset" featuring posts from users in Rome present at Pope Benedict XVI's final blessing on Wednesday.

The trend saw "thank you" messages and affectionate salutations from Filipinos reminded of Benedict XVI's last day as head of the Church.

Page views of videos of Benedict's last appearances as pope, meanwhile, rose as the countdown toward the last hours of his papacy ticked.

Television news agency Rome Reports highlighted the "best moments" of Benedict XVI's eight-year pontificate which would end Thursday following his decision to step down.

From his papal election, audiences with young people, historic state visits, first Twitter post to his beatification of predecessor Pope John Paul II and emotional last blessing on Wednesday, the video looks back at the pope's days at the helm of the Roman Catholic Church.



Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI: Life Away from the Vatican Bernadine RacomaMar 1st, 20133 Comments

Before finally leaving his post as the head of the Roman Catholic Church, the last remaining hours of now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI were spent meeting with his cardinals. He promised to obey and revere whoever would be his successor. The farewell ceremony soon followed. He bade farewell to a multitude of people before boarding the helicopter that will take him to Castel Gandolfo, a papal summer retreat, where, from the time he set foot on the ground, starts his new life as Pope Emeritus.


His Swiss Guards will have their rare days off, as they do not have a pope to protect in the meantime. The papal apartment is already sealed.

After eight years of being a pope, Benedict XVI’s papacy formally ended at 8:00 PM on February 28, 2013. And by the time it was marked, he was already at his temporary home.


For now, the Roman Catholic Church does not have a head. On Monday, March 4, the first meeting of the College of Cardinals is expected to take place. This will be the time for them to decide when the conclave to choose the next pope will be held. The meeting is also expected to discuss the priorities of the Church. Around 115 cardinals are expected to vote for the 226th pope, which some officials from the Vatican hope to be done by Easter Sunday. Some officials, on the other hand are against the rush consensus as they want to have more time to go over each candidate’s background as well as further discuss the challenges faced by the church.


It is generally expected that discrete machinations among the red-hatted princes of the church, the cardinals, will be in full force, as the observers keenly watch their every move. Benedict XVI urged the cardinals to work in full harmony and unity when they set out to vote for the next pope. Church critics on the other hand have continuously presented the Vatican as an organization fraught with corruption and backbiting.

Leaking of papal documents

Speculations are rife, since the leak of some of the papal papers, which happened way before the announcement of the Pope’s resignation. The Italian Panorama news magazine had very recently released a report that alleges that phone taps and opening of mails were ordered by Vatican’s former No. 2 man, Tarcisio Bertone. It came about after the leaking of documents meant for Pope Benedict XVI’s eyes only. The church tribunal convicted the personal butler of the Pope, accused of stealing the top-secret documents last year. It was confirmed by Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi that two or three phones were indeed tapped while investigations were underway.

The Pope had read the contents of the documents, and had pardoned his butler but the fact remains that while the 115 cardinals who will vote are not privy to it, at least three of the senior officials that wrote the secret report are included in the conclave and could leak parts of the report or could have a major influence in the final selection of the next pope.

Physically and spiritually near

Benedict XVI said that he will continue to pray that the conclave will be able to select the best one to succeed him. At the same time, he will indeed be physically near the Vatican because the monastery, which will be his permanent home after a brief stay in Castel Gandolfo is very near his former papal apartments. His books and his piano have already been sent to Mater Ecclesiae, his future home.

Last Tweet

He has sent his last tweet as a pope on February 28, thanking his followers for their support and love. He wished all of them to experience the joy in making Christ the center of their lives. His 32 tweets have been archived.

Although it had been previously announced that his Twitter account will be put in hibernation, today is was revealed that it will be maintained for the next pope.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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