Pope Benedict XVI is going through his final duties as pope, Thursday, before he retires from the public eye. As a 21st century pope, at 4 p.m. G.M.T. he will issue his final tweet before his Twitter account @Pontifex is closed. Pope Benedict XVI was the first pope to use modern technology such as Twitter but the Catholic Church remains stuck in a bygone era.
Thursday morning the Pope has said farewells to his aides and cardinals. He looked a tired, old man as he stood dressed in papal robes before a line of people.
As the first pope to resign from office in 600 years, arrangements were made for his retirement. Where will the pope live, what will he be called, will he have any powers, have been just a few of the considerations.
Allegations of historical abuse have tainted this pope's reign but there are many who could be held responsible for wrongdoing. Allegations of abuse go back some years and involve many people.
Watching the pope as he said goodbye to each of his cardinals, jockeying for position was plain to see. Each of the men are hoping to either be the next pope or be in that person's good books.
Papal candidates hail from many countries, with a large percentage being Italian. It is unlikely though that the next Pope will be an Italian. Catholics are pinning all have their hopes on the new pope and will be watching this election closely.
A younger pope could be more in touch with the people and modern life, although age does not necessarily mean a more or less conservative approach. The youngest papal candidate is Luis Tagle, 55, the archbishop of the Philippines' capital city, Manila. He could be a popular choice with Catholics but will he with the cardinals?
Whoever takes over will have a tough job in front of them. Allegations of sleaze have rocked the Holy Roman Catholic Church to the core. Even the faithful will have lost some confidence in their religious leaders. Restoring confidence will need a charismatic new pope, such as the late Pope John Paul, but it is going to take much more.
It is time for the Catholic Church to do some soul-searching. A long, hard and honest look followed by action is a must. The hierarchy of the church may want to sweep allegations under the carpet but openness is the only way forward.
Pope Benedict has vowed obedience to his successor reports the BBC, but what about loyalty to the people and God?
People need to be held accountable for their failures and, if appropriate, criminal convictions must follow. The new pope will take over at a low point in the church's history but the Catholic faith has overcome many trials and tribulations in the past. Can it survive once more?
So will you tweet @Pontifex one last time and if you do what will you tweet?
Update: As Pope Benedict XVI bid the Vatican farewell, he tweeted: "Thank you for your love and support. May you always experience the joy that comes from putting Christ at the centre of your lives."