A senior church leader in Derby has welcomed the appointment of the first non-European pope in nearly 1,300 years.
Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio from Argentina, who has taken the name Pope Francis, has been elected the 266th pontiff. He gave his first blessing from the Vatican balcony to thousands yesterday.
Father Tim O'Sullivan from St Mary's Church says he was moved by the Pope's address and looks forward to his papacy.
Pope Benedict XVI thanked the faithful for their "love and prayers" at his first public appearance since announcing his resignation, telling them he is stepping down for "the good of the Church".
"Continue to pray for me, for the Church and for the future Pope," he said at the start of his weekly general audience at the Vatican.
The Pope was interrupted several times by rapturous applause from the 8,000-strong crowd who gathered to watch.
Pope Benedict XVI said he was "well aware of the gravity of such an act" but was also "aware of not being able to carry out my [papal] ministry with the physical and spiritual force that it requires".
Echoing the remarks he made to stunned cardinals when announcing his decision to resign on Monday, the Pope said, "I took this decision in full freedom for the good of the Church after praying for a long time and examining by conscience before God".
During the season of Lent which begins today, we renew our commitment to the path of conversion, making more room for God in our lives.From @Pontifex on Twitter:
Pope Benedict XVI was greeted by a cheering crowd as he made his first public appearance since announcing his resignation:
There was great excitement when Pope Benedict visited the Midlands in 2010 with thousands of people attending a special mass and lining the streets to catch a glimpse of the head of the Catholic church.
Today, Catholics gave us their reaction to the announcement.
Lee Comley reports.
A student from Birmingham's Bishop Challoner Catholic College has told ITV News Central that singing for the Pope was the best day of her life.
Cory Smith, a Year-13 sixth former, sang for the Pope in Cofton Park, Birmingham, when he visited in September 2010.
The event attracted around 55,000 people.
The one day visit saw the beautification of Cardinal John Henry Newman
– Labour leader Ed Miliband
Many people will remember his historic visit to the UK in 2010 - which was a very special moment for many, especially Catholics, across the country.
His decision to stand down is a brave one and we know he will not have reached it lightly.
The choice of a successor is clearly an important one for the Catholic Church.
Our thoughts are with those who must make such a critical decision on behalf of millions around the world.