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Pope Benedict XVI officially resigns papacy - PHOTOS

Benedict XVI has become the first pope in 600 years to resign, ending an eight-year pontificate shaped by struggles to move the church past sex abuse scandals and to reawaken Christianity in an indifferent world. The Swiss Guards standing at attention in Castel Gandolfo shut the gates of the palazzo shortly after 8 p.m. Thursday (1 p.m. CENTRAL), symbolically closing the doors on a papacy whose legacy will be most marked by the way it ended - a resignation instead of a death. (All pictures courtesy Getty Images News)

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