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Pope Appears In Public, Says Resignation Is For "Good Of The Church"

Worldcrunch

ROME - Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday made his first public appearance since stunning the world and his Catholic flock with the announcement of his decision to become the first pontiff in nearly 600 years to resign.

Telling a crowd in the Vatican auditorium that the historic resignation was "for the good of the Church," the Pope thanked believers at the traditional weekly General Audience and those around the world for their “love and prayers” and asked them to “keep praying, not only for me, but for the Church and the future Pope.”

The Pope appeared somewhat frail and spoke in a quiet voice, but smiled at the large crowd gathered before him who applauded at length.

The 85-year-old Pope announced Monday that he was too weak to continue in the role, and would step down on Feb. 28. "As you know, I have decided to renounce the ministry that the Lord gave to me on April 19, 2005," he said, to applause. "I did this in full liberty for the good of the church."

Many open questions remain, including what the "Emeritus" pontiff will actually be called, and whether he will have any role in the future governance of the church. Every one of Benedict's predecessors since the 15th century had served until death. The Vatican has said the Pope has no specific ailment that is behind the decision, though on Tuesday it was confirmed that Benedict has a pacemaker.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Dnipro, A Heinous Attack Sparks Hard Questions About Weapon Supplies — On Both Sides

After Dnipro was left devastated by one of Russia’s deadliest attacks on Ukrainian civilians to date, the problem of arms delivery in a war that keeps escalating has never been more urgent.

Photo France's AMX-10 RC light tanks

France will be sending AMX-10 RC light tanks to Ukraine, but has not committed to heavy combat tanks.

Gouhier Nicolas/Abaca via ZUMA
Pierre Haski

The Russian missile that struck a residential building on Saturday afternoon in Dnipro killed at least 40 people, a number that keeps growing as bodies are discovered under the rubble in the central Ukrainian city. It appears to be a war crime with no legitimate target near the neighborhood.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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This bombing is also particularly informative about what’s happening right now on the Russian side of the war: The KH-22 cruise missile used is designed to sink an aircraft carrier, the biggest one in Moscow’s arsenal.

This precision missile was fired from an aircraft hundreds of miles away and has no link whatsoever to the target.

This enormous gap between the type of missile used and its ultimate target might actually reveal a missile scarcity in Russia, after weeks of continuous bombing in Ukraine. Tapping into strategic Russian weaponry (the KH-22 can be equipped with nuclear warheads) can never be justified considering the innocence of the target. Russian arms plants running at full capacity, for the time being at least, cannot keep up supplies.

But this tragic strike is also a clear sign of a progressive escalation in a war that, at this stage, shows no signs it can be stopped.

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