Sunday 17 November 2019

Benedict to become 'emeritus Pope'

Pope Benedict XVI will be known as 'emeritus Pope' in his retirement and will continue to wear a white cassock, the Vatican said yesterday, again fueling concerns about potential conflicts arising from having both a reigning and a retired Pope.

The Pope's title and what he would wear have been a major source of speculation ever since Benedict stunned the world and announced he would resign tomorrow, the first pontiff to do so in 600 years.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev Federico Lombardi, said he didn't know why Benedict, pictured, had decided to drop his other main title: Bishop of Rome.

Benedict's decision to call himself emeritus Pope and to keep wearing white is sure to fan concern voiced privately by some cardinals about the awkward reality of having two Popes, both living within the Vatican walls.

Adding to the concern is that Benedict's trusted secretary, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, will be serving both pontiffs – living with Benedict at the monastery inside the Vatican and keeping his day job as prefect of the new Pope's household. Benedict himself has made clear he is retiring to a lifetime of prayer and meditation "hidden from the world".

However, he still will be very present in the tiny city-state, where his new home is right next door to the Vatican Radio and has a lovely view of the dome of St Peter's Basilica.

While he will no longer wear his trademark red shoes, Benedict has taken a liking to a pair of hand-crafted brown loafers made for him by artisans in Leon, Mexico, and given to him during his 2012 visit, Rev Lombardi said.

Benedict will hold his final public general audience in St Peter's Square today – an event that has already had 50,000 ticket requests.

Irish Independent

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