Church to appoint new Pope 'before the end of Lent'

A weary looking Pope Benedict celebrated his last public mass as Pontiff today, inside St Peter's Basilica where thousands gathered to celebrate Ash Wednesday.

Ash Wednesday is one of the holiest days of the Catholic faith, and marks the beginning of Lent, forty days before the celebration of Easter Sunday, by which time the church will have a new leader.

Europe Editor James Mates, reports.

The runners and riders to replace Pope Benedict XVI

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Pope thankful for 'prayers'

The Pope has made his first appearance at St Peter's Square window since his resignation announcement and thanked the faithful for their "prayers and support."