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Thousands Gather to Hear From Pope Benedict

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Looking tired but serene, Pope Benedict XVI told the thousands who gathered for his weekly audience that he was resigning for "the good of the church." (Feb. 13)

SHOTLIST:

AP -AP Clients Only

Vatican City - Feb. 13

1. Wide of Pope at audience

2. Wide of crowd cheering

3. Tight of Pope

4. Wide of Vatican City

5. SOUNDBITE: John Thavis, Author, "The Vatican Diaries", and former bureau chief of Catholic News Service: (Transcript Below)

6. Wide of Church leaders

7. Wide of pope and audience

VOICE-OVER SCRIPT:

CALL IT THE BEGINNING OF THE END - POPE BENEDICT MADE HIS FIRST PUBLIC APPEARANCE WEDNESDAY SINCE ANNOUNCING HE'S RESIGNING.

THE PONTIFF GOT ROUSING OVATIONS FROM THOUSANDS WHO GATHERED FOR HIS WEEKLY AUDIENCE IN VATICAN CITY AND AT TIMES SEEMED TO BASK IN THE ADORATION.

(nat sound of applause)

THE POPE USED THE APPEARANCE TO EXPLAIN IN ITALIAN WHY HE'S TAKING THE EXTRAORDINARY STEP OF STEPPING DOWN.

(NAT SOUND ITALIAN)

HE SAYS HE IS DOING THIS FOR THE GOOD OF THE CHURCH AND ADDED THESE ARE NOT EASY DAYS.

STILL THOSE IN VATICAN CITY SAY GIVEN NO POPE HAS RESIGNED IN NEARLY 600 YEARS THEY ARE ANXIOUS TO HEAR MORE FROM HIM.

SOUNDBITE: John Thavis, Author, "The Vatican Diaries", and former bureau chief of Catholic News Service:

"You know, one of the questions hanging over this whole transition is, how do you say goodbye to a resigning Pope? And how does the Pope say goodbye to the people he has worked with and to the faithful?"

TO THAT END THE CHURCH HAS BEGUN OUTLINING HIS LAST DAY AS POPE SAYING HE WILL START BY ATTENDING A FAREWELL CEREMONY WITH HIS CARDINALS AND WILL THEN BE FLOWN TO HIS PAPAL SUMMER RESIDENCE.

IT SAYS NO FORMAL OR SYMBOLIC ACT IS NEEDED TO MAKE THE RESIGNATION OFFICIAL BUT SEND OFFS LIKE THESE MORE THAN GET THE POINT ACROSS.

SIGOUT - Name/Associated Press

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