Pope says he prayed not to be made pope

, Vatican City, April 25 (UPI) -- Pope Benedict XVI told pilgrims from his native Germany Monday that he prayed during the conclave not to be named pope.

"When the voting slowly developed making it clear that the guillotine was coming closer and pointing at me, I asked God to spare me this destiny," the pope said. He prayed to God that "You have younger, better, more enthusiastic and energetic candidates."


Pope Benedict XVI, who met with pilgrims and leaders of other faiths Monday in Vatican City, said at age 78 he had expected his life's work has been finished and he had planned to live out his last years quietly, the BBC reported.

"The Lord's road is not comfortable, but we are not made for comfort and so I could not have done anything but say yes," he said.

The pontiff, who was formally installed as pope in a mass in St. Peter's Square Sunday, welcomed the Muslim presence at the first audience of his papacy.

"I express my appreciation for the growth of dialogue between Muslims and Christians, both at the local and international level," he said. "I assure you that the church wants to continue building bridges of friendship with the followers of all religions, in order to seek the true good of every person and of society as a whole."


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