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POPE TAKES UP RESIDENCE IN PAPAL APARTMENT

Pope Benedict XVI plans to give his first Sunday noontime blessing today from the papal apartment overlooking St. Peter's Square, the Vatican said, greeting the faithful from the same third-floor window where Pope John Paul II welcomed pilgrims for nearly 27 years.

Benedict moved into the apartment on Saturday, formally taking possession of the official papal residence that was sealed after John Paul died April 2, Vatican Radio said.

Benedict broke the seal -- a red ribbon tied around the doorknob -- on April 20, the day after he was elected. But he chose to remain at the Vatican hotel where he was sequestered during the conclave before moving in on Saturday.

Benedict on Saturday approved the appointment of the Vatican's No. 2 official, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, as dean of the College of Cardinals, the powerful position that Benedict had held before his April 19 election.

The Italian-born Sodano, 77, also is the Vatican's secretary of state. Cardinal Roger Etchegaray of France will serve as Sodano's deputy.

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