Pope meets cardinals for last time

This article appears in the Conclave 2013 feature series. View the full series.

ROME -- NCR staff writer Joshua McElwee was in the Vatican press briefing room watching the last meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and the college of cardinals. The meeting was held in  Clementine Hall inside the Apostolic Palace, but broadcast live beginning at 11 p.m. Rome time (4 a.m. USA central time).

McElwee described the event as it unfolded on this Tweeter feed  @joshjmac as did Catholic News Service @CatholicNewsSvc.

Here's a copy of their tweets:

The meeting began with remarks by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Dean of the College of Cardinals:

Sodano: “With great trepidation,” the cardinals “gather closely around you.”

+Sodano: Cardinals grateful to #Pope for “witness of selfless apostolic service” for good of church & “all humanity.”

+Sodano calls #Pope “beloved and venerated successor of Peter.”

+Sodano: “You prepare to leave us, knowing the rudder of the barque of Peter will pass to other hands.”

+Sodano: Apostolic succession will continue until the Lord comes again, creating “new heavens & a new earth.”

+Sodano: Like disciples on road to Emmaus, cardinals walked with Benedict & their “hearts burned within them” as he spoke of God.

+Sodano: “‘Vergelt’s Gott,’” in Bavarian, may God reward you.

Loud applause from cardinals as #pope greets Cardinal Sodano following speech of appreciation.

#Pope and +Sodano share warm embrace

#Pope gives “warmest greetings” to cardinals, thanks +Sodano

#Pope says he too felt like disciple on road to Emmaus. “It was good to walk with you, too,” tells Cardinals

“We tried to serve Christ and his church with love,” pope says

#Pope says wants to leave “a simple thought, close to my heart”

#Pope: “The church is a living being,” grows, transforms, “but also remains always the same,” since it’s Christ’s body

#Pope: Church is “in the world, but not of the world.”

Several cardinals have their heads down as #pope speaks, likely listening closely for any parting directions.

#Pope: Through church, the mystery of incarnation remains always, Christ continues to walk world through church

#Pope: “I will continue to serve you with prayer, esp in the coming days” as you meet in conclave

#Pope: “Among you there is the future pope” and “I assure you of my prayers.”

#pope gives apostolic blessing to cardinals as he finishes final remarks

Warm applause greets pope. He gives his apostolic blessing

Cardinals greeting #pope one by one, and then Msgr. Georg Ganswein.

Each cardinal is kissing Benedict’s ring one last time, a sign of their obedience to him until he resigns tonight.

Cardinals are going up to pope, greeting him individually in their order of “precedence.” Dean, cardinal-bishops, -priests, -deacons

Each cardinal is getting a moment to share final thoughts with #pope. Microphone unfortunately not picking the remarks up

Ooops. Cardinals going in order ended with cardinal-bishops

#Vatican press corps largely quiet as we watch cardinals on TV feed. Taking in the moment, seeing who can identify which cardinals.

#Pope pauses for sip of water....tough work here.

Cardinal Rigali now greeting. Long exchange between him and pope.

Gotta wonder. All that kissing of the ring...hopefully no cardinals have a chest cold or anything.

Tagle greets #pope, talks in his ear.

Cardinal Tagle, whispering in pope’s ear, makes him laugh

Tagle, a Filipino cardinal, widely seen as Asian hope of #conclave.

Cardinal O’Malley of @bostoncatholic greeting pope. O’Malley seen as long shot for next pope #conlave

O’Malley, in an usual touch, wearing cardinal’s outfit and not his simple, Franciscan habit.

Cardinal McCarrick, emeritus of Washington DC, greets pope, smiles widely.

Cardinal Raymond Burke kneels as he comes forward.

US Cardinal Bernard Law, formerly archbishop for @bostoncatholic -- greets pope. Law of course known for criticized response to sex abuse

Cardinal Turkson, African thought to be candidate for next #pope, greets and hands a letter to Benedict

English translation of the remarks by Cardinal Angelo Sodano this morning in meeting with pope: tinyurl.com/cbec352 #conclave

Head of congregation for religious, Brazilian Cardinal Braz de Aviz, greets.

Archbishop Gerhard Muller, prefect of doctrinal congregation, joins cardinals in saying farewell to #Pope

US Msgr Peter Wells, assessor in Vat sect state, greets #Pope too

Meeting of #pope with bishops wrapping up.

#Pope now posing for group photo with aides from liturgical office

One hour later, #Pope leaves Clementine Hall

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