Pope Benedict XVI has admitted he faced “choppy waters” during his eight years at the helm of the Roman Catholic Church, but says he was guided by God and felt his presence every day.
The Pope, 85, will retire on Thursday – the first pope to abdicate since Gregory XII in 1415.
Thousands of pilgrims gathered in St Peter’s Square in the Vatican for Pope Benedict’s final general audience. His successor will be chosen in a conclave to take place in March.
Pope Benedict told the crowd his papacy had been “a heavy burden” but he accepted it because he was sure that God would guide him.