(CBS News) Following Pope Benedict's final public address on Wednesday, Delia Gallagher, senior editor of Inside the Vatican magazine and a CBS News consultant, said there is a "renewed sense of excitement at the Vatican" as the 115 voting cardinals look to select the next pope.
"We've had eight years of a rather difficult pontificate," Gallagher said, "The cardinals are almost looking forward to the opportunity to set a new direction, within the limits of course of what's available in the college of cardinals, who have all been nominated by Pope Benedict or by his predecessor Pope John Paul II.
"I do think there's that's sense of a new start, a fresh start for the church," Gallagher added.
Speaking to the sex scandals that have marred the church over the last decade, Gallagher said the cardinals will likely be "very aware" of the scandals as they elect the new pope.
"He will have to be somebody who is able both to continue to monitor the consequences of that scandal and at the same time, bring a new sense of direction and a new idea of the future of the church to help people heal and kind of move away from that scandal," she said.
After his farewell appearance Wednesday morning, Pope Benedict sent out his final tweet, which read: "If only everyone could experience the joy of being Christian, being loved by God who gave his son for us."
Gallagher said when the pope retires -- and leaves his Twitter account behind -- he hopes to regain the "sense of privacy" that said is lost as pontiff. But, Gallagher adds, "he's not going back to a private life...he really is going to continue a life of seclusion and prayer, hidden from the world."
For those hoping to get one last look at Benedict before he retires, Gallagher said "there should be some footage of him going off in the helicopter to...his summer residence" and explained that "it will probably be the last time you will see the pope in public."