The pope, 85, addressed his follower's on Wednesday during his traditional weekly audience at the Vatican.
"I did this in full liberty for the good of the church," he told the cheering crowd in regards to his resignation. Adding that people should "continue to pray for the pope and the church."
Given the Pontiff's unexpected decision to leave his post by the end of the month, this will be the last time he gets to distribute ashes to the faithful during Ash Wednesday's services from St. Peter's Square in Vatican City.
Benedict XVI is set to step down on Feb. 28, he will have no say in the election process for his successor and will probably be known again by his birth name, Joseph Ratzinger, with the title of bishop emeritus of Rome.
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