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VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Benedict made several rounds of St. Peter's Square in a triumphant farewell as crowds cheered wildly for the retiring pontiff.

Tens of thousands of people toting banners saying "Grazie!" - "thank you" in Italian - jammed the piazza for the pope's final general audience - the appointment he has kept each week to teach the world about the Catholic faith.

Benedict is the first pope in 600 years to resign.