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February 28th, 2013
09:31 PM ET

Former Swiss Guard: Benedict, John Paul had personal touch

By Dugald McConnell and Brian Todd, CNN

(CNN) - Andreas Widmer knew two men - one who was pope and one who would succeed him - who despite their immense responsibilities were keen to the spiritual needs of the people around them. The sort of people others might hardly notice.

Widmer was one of those the clerics noticed.

He saw the inner workings of the Vatican as a member of the Swiss Guard when John Paul II was head of the Roman Catholic Church. The experience left him with an appreciation for what a pope sacrifices.

"Nobody wants to be pope," he said. To become pope is "to give up all privacy," Widmer said. "You're basically locked in; you have to go where you have to go. You lose your friends, you lose your family - you're a prisoner.

"Not one cardinal wants to be pope."

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope Benedict XVI • Pope John Paul II • Vatican

A look at possible papal contenders
February 28th, 2013
04:22 PM ET

A look at possible papal contenders

(CNN) - Technically, any adult Catholic male can be elected to the papacy, but the last pope not chosen from the College of Cardinals was Urban VI in 1379. The cardinals who seem to be front-runners to replace the current pope are referred to as "papabile," or translated from the Italian, "pope-able."

Our interactive offers a list of some cardinals considered "papabile," according to John Allen, CNN analyst and correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter.

See the possible contenders
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope • Pope Benedict XVI • Vatican

February 28th, 2013
04:08 PM ET

'I'm just a pilgrim' Benedict XVI says as he bids public farewell

By Laura Smith-Spark and Richard Allen Greene, CNN

Rome (CNN) - Benedict XVI's time as pope came to a historic end Thursday, as he became the first pontiff in six centuries to resign as leader of the world's Roman Catholics, who now number 1.2 billion.

Torchlit crowds stood before the gates of the Castel Gandolfo residence, waiting to see the Swiss Guards, the soldiers who traditionally protect the pope, salute and close the doors on the stroke of 8 p.m.

The guards' departure from the papal summer home brings Benedict's papacy to a formal end. The protection of Benedict there falls now to Vatican police.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope • Pope Benedict XVI • Vatican

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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.

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