Pope Benedict XVI
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Pope Benedict gives last Sunday blessing at Vatican

24 February 2013 Last updated at 19:17 GMT

Pope Benedict XVI has given his final Sunday blessing at the Vatican before he steps down on Thursday.

In his last Angelus in St Peter's Square, he told thousands of cheering pilgrims his decision did not mean he was abandoning the Church.

Pope Benedict, 85, announced his resignation last week, saying ill-health meant he could not continue.

Cardinals are gathering to choose the next pope amid fears Church sex abuse scandals may overshadow the process.

Allan Little reports from Vatican City.