Pope apologises for forgetfulness

Last updated at 10:52 17 August 2005

Pope Benedict has apologised for being forgetful - not once but twice.

At the end of his weekly general audience, the Pope had left the window overlooking the courtyard of his summer residence where thousands of people had listened to him deliver greetings in various languages.

He then returned and joked: "I ask your forgiveness. I forgot the most important greeting - the one to Italian-speaking pilgrims," he said, laughing.

The 78-year-old Pope then read the greeting in Italian, turned away and was leaving, but aides reminded him that he had forgotten something else. He returned to the window yet again.

"Today, I am forgetting the most important things. It appears that I am already partly in Cologne. They told me: 'You forgot the most essential thing, the blessing'," he said.

He then delivered his blessing and, still smiling and laughing about his two oversights, returned inside the summer residence.

Benedict leaves on Thursday for Cologne in his native Germany to conclude the Roman Catholic Church's World Youth Day festivities.

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