CIUDAD DEL VATICANO (AP) — El papa Benedicto XVI bendijo a los fieles desde su ventana sobre la Plaza de San Pedro por primera vez desde que anunció su retiro, y fue aclamado por una multitud emocionada de decenas de miles de admiradores de distintos lugares del mundo.

Con una amplia sonrisa, Benedicto XVI alzó los brazos extendidos hacia la enorme multitud en su penúltimo Angelus antes de dejar el papado. Un enorme estandarte en la plaza decía: "Te amamos".

La reunión de los domingos al mediodía es una de las tradiciones más atesoradas de la Iglesia Católica, y este momento es una de las últimas oportunidades de Benedicto XVI de conectarse con la masa católica.

La voz del papa era fuerte y clara cuando se dirigió a los por lo menos 5.000 peregrinos congregados en la plaza, bañada por el sol.

El Papa no hizo referencia a su sorprendente decisión de abandonar el cargo el 28 de febrero. Pero agradeció indirectamente a los fieles por su "oración y afecto en estos días". La plaza estalló entonces en fuertes vítores y aplausos.

"Os suplico que continuéis rezando por mí y por el próximo Papa, así como por los Ejercicios espirituales, que empezaré esta tarde junto a los miembros de la Curia Romana", dijo Benedicto.

El Papa agradeció en particular a los habitantes de la ciudad de Roma y, en sus palabras en español, al grupo del Colegio sacerdotal argentino de Roma, un ligero indicio del título que tendrá después de su retiro. El Vaticano ha sugerido que se le llame "obispo emérito de Roma".

La tradicional cita al mediodía normalmente atrae a varios miles de peregrinos y turistas, pero las autoridades de la ciudad se prepararon para una avalancha de personas.

"Queríamos expresarle nuestros buenos deseos" dijo Amy Champion, una turista de Gales. "Hace falta tener mucho valor para aceptar ese cargo, y más valor aún ... para renunciar".

Desde el domingo por la noche el Papa estará fuera de la vista pública durante una semana entera: un servicio de meditación en el Vaticano marca el comienzo del tradicional período de Cuaresma, de reflexión y oración.

Roma preparó autobuses y trenes del metro adicionales para la multitud, y ofreció viajes gratis en minibuses a los ancianos y discapacitados.

Mientras los cardenales eligen a su sucesor el próximo mes en un cónclave secreto en la Capilla Sixtina, Benedicto XVI, de 85 años, el primer pontífice en renunciar en 600 años, estará en retiro en la residencia de verano de la Santa Sede en las colinas al sureste de Roma.

Después de varias semanas, se espera que se mude a un monasterio que le preparan en este momento detrás de los muros de Ciudad del Vaticano y lleve una vida de claustro.

El Vaticano no ha anunciado la fecha del comienzo del cónclave, pero el sábado anunció que podría ser antes del 15 de marzo, la fecha más cercana en que puede comenzar según las reglas en vigor. Benedicto XVI tendría que aprobar un comienzo adelantado, lo que sería una de sus últimas decisiones en sus casi ocho años de papado.

Mientras tanto, los primeros cardenales comenzaron a llegar a Roma para iniciar un intenso período político entre los "príncipes de la Iglesia" para decidir quiénes son los principales candidatos a ser el próximo Papa. El obispo Robert Sarah, nacido en Guinea y cardenal que dirige la oficina de caridades del Vaticano, dijo a los reporteros cuando llegó al aeropuerto de Roma el domingo que los cardenales debe escoger a su nuevo líder con "serenidad y confianza".

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Daniela Petroff contribuyó a este despacho.

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Gráfico interactivo: http://hosted.ap.org/interactives/2013/papa-benedicto-es

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  • Faithful pray in Castel Gandolfo's San Tommaso da Villanova church after Pope Benedict XVI blessed the crowd from the window of the Pope's summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, the scenic town where he will spend his first post-Vatican days and make his last public blessing as pope,Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

  • Robert Zollitsch

    Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, head of the German Bishops' Conference, right, holds his sermon during a thanksgiving service for outgoing pope Benedict XVI. at the St. Hedwig cathedral in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. At 8 p.m. sharp, Benedict will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/Gero Breloer)

  • Benedict XVI

    Pope Benedict XVI waves from the balcony window of the Pontifical summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, some 35 kilometers south of Rome, to a cheering crowd gathered to see him the day he ends his pontificate, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

  • Faithful sing as they wait for Pope Benedict's XVI departure in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican,Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. The 85-year-old German Pope Benedict is stepping down on Thursday evening, the first pope to do so in 600 years, after saying he no longer has the mental or physical strength to vigorously lead the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Faithful sing as they wait Pope Benedict's XVI departure in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican,Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. The 85-year-old German Pope Benedict is stepping down on Thursday evening, the first pope to do so in 600 years, after saying he no longer has the mental or physical strength to vigorously lead the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Nuns wave to a helicopter with Pope Benedict XVI onboard in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican,Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. The 85-year-old German Pope Benedict is stepping down on Thursday evening, the first pope to do so in 600 years, after saying he no longer has the mental or physical strength to vigorously lead the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Pope Benedict XVI greets the crowd from the window of the Pope's summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, the scenic town where he will spend his first post-Vatican days and make his last public blessing as pope,Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

  • Vatican employees take down Pope Benedict XVI's crest turns after he greeted the crowd from the window of the his summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, the scenic town where he will spend his first post-Vatican days and make his last public blessing as pope,Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

  • Pope Benedict XVI turns away after greeting the crowd from the window of the Pope's summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, the scenic town where he will spend his first post-Vatican days and make his last public blessing as pope,Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

  • Pope Benedict XVI walks away after addressing the crowd from the window of the Pope's summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, the scenic town where he will spend his first post-Vatican days and make his last public blessing as pope,Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

  • Pope Benedict XVI blesses the crowd from the window of the Pope's summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, the scenic town where he will spend his first post-Vatican days and make his last public blessing as pope,Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

  • Faithful carry a banner in German reading "Thank You" as they watch a giant screen showing Pope Benedict XVI, at the Vatican,Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. The 85-year-old German Pope Benedict is stepping down on Thursday evening, the first pope to do so in 600 years, after saying he no longer has the mental or physical strength to vigorously lead the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Norbert Lammert, Horst Seehofer, Angela Merkel

    Bavarian state governor Horst Seehofer, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President of the German Federal Parliament, Bundestag, Norbert Lammert, bottom from left, attend a thanksgiving service for outgoing pope Benedict XVI. at the St. Hedwig cathedral in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. At 8 p.m. sharp, Benedict will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/Gero Breloer)

  • In this photo taken with a fisheye lens, faithfuls gather during a thanksgiving service for outgoing pope Benedict XVI. at the St. Hedwig cathedral in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. At 8 p.m. sharp, Benedict will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/Gero Breloer)

  • FILE- In this Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, file photo. a general view of the gardens of pope's summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, in the town of Castelgandolfo, south of Rome. Immediately after his resignation on Feb. 28, 2013, Pope Benedict XVI will spend some time at the papal summer retreat in Castel Gandolfo, overlooking Lake Albano in the hills south of Rome where he has spent his summer vacations reading and writing. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Robert Zollitsch

    Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, head of the German Bishops' Conference, celebrates a thanksgiving service for outgoing pope Benedict XVI. at the St. Hedwig cathedral in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. At 8 p.m. sharp, Benedict will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/Gero Breloer)

  • FILE- In this Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, file photo, a view of the garden of pope's summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, in the town of Castelgandolfo, south of Rome.. Immediately after his resignation on Feb. 28, 2013, Pope Benedict XVI will spend some time at the papal summer retreat in Castel Gandolfo, overlooking Lake Albano in the hills south of Rome where he has spent his summer vacations reading and writing. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • In this photo taken with a fisheye lens, faithfuls gather during a thanksgiving service for outgoing pope Benedict XVI. at the St. Hedwig cathedral in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. At 8 p.m. sharp, Benedict will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/Gero Breloer)

  • FILE- This Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, file photo, shows a view of the hall ofthe pope's summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, in the town of Castelgandolfo, south of Rome. Immediately after his resignation on Feb. 28, 2013, Pope Benedict XVI will spend some time at the papal summer retreat in Castel Gandolfo, overlooking Lake Albano in the hills south of Rome where he has spent his summer vacations reading and writing. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • FILE - In this Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, file photo, pictures of Pope Benedict XVI are seen at a newsstand outside the pope's summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, in the town of Castelgandolfo, south of Rome. Immediately after his resignation on Feb. 28, 2013, Pope Benedict XVI will spend some time at the papal summer retreat in Castel Gandolfo, overlooking Lake Albano in the hills south of Rome where he has spent his summer vacations reading and writing. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • FILE - In this , Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, file photo, Pierpoalo Turoli, responsible for pope's residences, opens a window of the pope's summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, in the town of Castelgandolfo, south of Rome. Immediately after his resignation on Feb. 28, 2013, Pope Benedict XVI will spend some time at the papal summer retreat in Castel Gandolfo, overlooking Lake Albano in the hills south of Rome where he has spent his summer vacations reading and writing. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • FILE - In this Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, file photo, a view of a grotto inside the pope's summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, in the town of Castelgandolfo, south of Rome. Immediately after his resignation on Feb. 28, 2013, Pope Benedict XVI will spend some time at the papal summer retreat in Castel Gandolfo, overlooking Lake Albano in the hills south of Rome where he has spent his summer vacations reading and writing. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Pope Benedict XVI leaves after greetings faithful from the balcony window of the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, the scenic town where he will spend his first post-Vatican days and made his last public blessing as pope,Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

  • Pope Benedict XVI greets faithful from his summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, the scenic town where he will spend his first post-Vatican days and made his last public blessing as pope,Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

  • Pope Benedict XVI leaves after greeting faithful from the balcony window of the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, the scenic town where he will spend his first post-Vatican days and made his last public blessing as pope,Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

  • Pope Benedict XVI leaves after greetings faithful from his summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, the scenic town where he will spend his first post-Vatican days and made his last public blessing as pope,Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

  • Faithful watch a giant screen showing Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican,Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. The 85-year-old German Pope Benedict is stepping down on Thursday evening, the first pope to do so in 600 years, after saying he no longer has the mental or physical strength to vigorously lead the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

  • Benedict XVI

    Pope Benedict XVI salutes a cheering crowd gathered to see him from the balcony window of the pontifical summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013, before he officially ends his pontificate a few hours later. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)

  • Pope Benedict XVI

    In this image taken from video, Pope Benedict XVI delivers his final message to the assembly of cardinals at the Vatican Thursday Feb. 28, 2013, before he retires in just a few hours. Benedict urged the cardinals to work in unity and promised his "unconditional reverence and obedience" to his successor in a poignant and powerful farewell before he becomes the first pope in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/Vatican TV)

  • A poster of Pope Benedict XVI with writing reading in Italian," You will stay always with us. Thank you" is seen near Rome's Capitol Hill, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. Shortly before 5 p.m. on Thursday, Benedict will leave the Apostolic palace inside the Vatican for the last time as pontiff, head to the helipad at the top of the hill in the Vatican gardens and fly to the papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo south of Rome. There, at 8 p.m. sharp, Benedict will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Benedict XVI

    RECROP OF VAT103. In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI delivers his message on the occasion of his farewell meeting to cardinals, at the Vatican, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. Benedict XVI promised his "unconditional reverence and obedience" to his successor in his final words to his cardinals Thursday, a poignant farewell before he becomes the first pope in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, ho)

  • Benedict XVI

    In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI delivers his message on the occasion of his farewell meeting to cardinals, at the Vatican, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. Benedict XVI promised his "unconditional reverence and obedience" to his successor in his final words to his cardinals Thursday, a poignant farewell before he becomes the first pope in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, ho)

  • Pope Benedict XVI

    In this image taken from video as Pope Benedict XVI deliveres his final greetings to the assembly of cardinals at the Vatican Thursday Feb. 28, 2013, before he retires in just a few hours. Benedict urged the cardinals to work in unity and promised his "unconditional reverence and obedience" to his successor in his final words to his cardinals Thursday in a poignant and powerful farewell before he becomes the first pope in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/Vatican TV)

  • Pope Benedict XVI

    FILE - This Nov. 23, 2007 file photo shows Pope Benedict XVI leading a session of prayer and reflection with the College of Cardinals, at the Vatican. Pope Benedict XVI promised his "unconditional reverence and obedience" to his successor in his final words to his cardinals Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013, a poignant farewell before he becomes the first pope in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/Christophe Simon, pool, file)

  • Commemorative plates and mugs of Pope Benedict XVI, left, Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, center, and the late Pope John Paul II, are displayed at a restaurant in Manila, Philippines Thursday Feb. 28, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI formally resigns Thursday, the first pope to abdicate the papacy in 600 years. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

  • Filipino Roman Catholic devotee Betty Abainza shops for posters of resigning Pope Benedict XVI at a religious store in Manila, Philippines Thursday Feb. 28, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI formally resigns Thursday, the first pope to abdicate the papacy in 600 years. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

  • A Filipino salesclerk checks the price of posters, including that of Pope Benedict XVI, at a religious store in Manila, Philippines Thursday Feb. 28, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI formally resigns Thursday, the first pope to abdicate the papacy in 600 years. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

  • Filipino Roman Catholic devotee Betty Abainza shops for posters of Pope Benedict XVI at a religious store in Manila, Philippines Thursday Feb. 28, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI formally resigns Thursday, the first Pope to abdicate the papacy in 600 years. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

  • Pope Benedict XVI Steps Down And Officially Retires From The Papal Office

    VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - FEBRUARY 28: Pope Benedict XVI speaks to his cardinals during a farewell ceremony in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace on February 28, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pope Benedict XVI will acquire the title 'Pope Emeritus' as he retires the pontificate today, and will travel to a papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo, near Rome (Photo by L'Osservatore Romano / Vatican Pool via Getty Images)Alternate crop of #162827424

  • Benedict XVI

    FILE - This Sept. 6, 2006 file photo shows Pope Benedict XVI wearing a "saturno hat", inspired by the ringed planet Saturn, to shield himself from the sun as he waves to the crowd of faithful prior to his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito, files)

  • FILE - Pope Benedict XVI greets the crowd from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, in this April 19, 2005, file photo. Joseph Ratzinger of Germany, who chose the name of Pope Benedict XVI, became the 265th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis/file)

  • In this photo released by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI receives German politician Horst Seehofer and his wife Karin during a private audience which followed his last general audience, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Benedict XVI basked in an emotional sendoff Wednesday at his final general audience in St. Peter's Square, recalling moments of "joy and light" during his papacy but also times of great difficulty. He also thanked his flock for respecting his decision to retire. (AP Photo/Osservatore Romano, ho)

  • In this photo released by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI receives German politician Horst Seehofer during a private audience which followed his last general audience, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Benedict XVI basked in an emotional sendoff Wednesday at his final general audience in St. Peter's Square, recalling moments of "joy and light" during his papacy but also times of great difficulty. He also thanked his flock for respecting his decision to retire. (AP Photo/Osservatore Romano, ho)

  • Pope Benedict XVI

    Faithful are reflected in the roof of Pope Benedict XVI's pope-mobile as he arrives to celebrate his last general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Benedict XVI basked in an emotional sendoff Wednesday at his final general audience in St. Peter's Square, recalling moments of "joy and light" during his papacy but also times of great difficulty. He also thanked his flock for respecting his decision to retire. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

  • Pope Benedict XVI, Georg Gaenswein

    Pope Benedict XVI's personal secretary George Gaenswein, left, wipes his eye as the Pope delivers his message during his last general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI basked in an emotional sendoff Wednesday at his final general audience in St. Peter's Square, recalling moments of "joy and light" during his papacy but also times of great difficulty. He also thanked his flock for respecting his decision to retire. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Pope Benedict XVI reads a message during his final general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI basked in an emotional sendoff Wednesday at his final general audience in St. Peter's Square, recalling moments of "joy and light" during his papacy but also times of great difficulty. He also thanked his flock for respecting his decision to retire. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Pope Benedict XVI opens his arms during his final general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI basked in an emotional sendoff Wednesday at his final general audience in St. Peter's Square, recalling moments of "joy and light" during his papacy but also times of great difficulty. He also thanked his flock for respecting his decision to retire. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Pope Benedict XVI is about to leave at the end of his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI basked in an emotional sendoff Wednesday at his final general audience in St. Peter's Square, recalling moments of "joy and light" during his papacy but also times of great difficulty. He also thanked his flock for respecting his decision to retire. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Pope Benedict XVI talks to his personal secretary George Gaenswein as he leaves at the end of his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI basked in an emotional sendoff Wednesday at his final general audience in St. Peter's Square, recalling moments of "joy and light" during his papacy but also times of great difficulty. He also thanked his flock for respecting his decision to retire. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Pope Benedict XVI delivers his blessing at the end of his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI basked in an emotional sendoff Wednesday at his final general audience in St. Peter's Square, recalling moments of "joy and light" during his papacy but also times of great difficulty. He also thanked his flock for respecting his decision to retire. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

  • Pope Benedict XVI kisses a baby during his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI basked in an emotional sendoff Wednesday at his final general audience in St. Peter's Square, recalling moments of "joy and light" during his papacy but also times of great difficulty. He also thanked his flock for respecting his decision to retire. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)


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