Benedict XVI Leaves Vatican On Final Day As Pope

Pope Benedict XVI has left the Vatican on his final day as Pope. The 85-year-old pontiff is being flown by helicopter to the papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo, near Rome. At 19:00 GMT he will cease to be the pontiff. His deputy, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, will be in charge of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics until a new pope is elected next month. Earlier, Benedict met his cardinals, vowing "unconditional obedience and reverence" to his eventual successor. Church bells rang as the pontiff boarded the helicopter shortly after 16:00 local time. Before that, applause rippled around the Vatican as the Pope was greeted for the last time by top officials in the Curia - the administrative body that runs the Holy See.