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Pope Benedict XVI was given rapturous applause in his first public appearance since his abdication announcement on Monday (Photo: PA)

Here we publish the full text of the Pope’s general audience address on Ash Wednesday

Benedict XVI seemed at ease as he led the general audience at the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall

Benedict XVI and Archbishop Gänswein at this morning's general audience (AP)

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Cardinal Ennio Antonelli greets the Pope at this morning's audience (AP)

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Benedict XVI arrives for his weekly general audience (AP)

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Pope Benedict XVI conducting one of his weekly general audiences (AP)

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Pope Benedict and Archbishop Georg Gänswein at today's audience (AP)

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The Pope blesses those gathered at this morning's general audience (AP)

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The Pope arrives for yesterday's Mass with newly elected cardinals (AP)

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