Vatican City - Pope Benedict XVI told the faithful in his first public appearance since announcing his resignation that he stepping down for "the good of the church."
He repeated that he simply does not have the strength to continue.
The pope received a lengthy standing ovation when he entered the packed audience hall Wednesday and was interrupted by applause from the throngs. Many had tears in their eyes.
Later on this Ash Wednesday, he will deliver what's likely his final public mass
The mass was supposed to take place at a small church in Rome, but with news of his resignation, the event has been moved to St. Peter's Basilica.
He asked the faithful "to continue to pray for the pope and the church."