VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis says it took courage for his predecessor, Benedict XVI, to retire.
Benedict became the first pontiff in 600 years to quit the post when he resigned in February. Francis was elected two weeks later.
By lauding Benedict's surprise choice to step down, Francis put his papacy on record as supporting the move and leaving himself and future popes a possible way to leave what is traditionally an office held until death.
Francis told pilgrims and tourists in St. Peter's Square on Sunday that God helped Benedict understand through prayer the step he had to take. Benedict, then 85, explained when announcing his intention to resign that he felt he didn't have the mental and physical strength to continue as pontiff.
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