Benedict to be Pope Emeritus

27 February 2013

Pope Benedict XVI will retain his papal name but will be called Pope Emeritus.

Director of the The Holy See press office Fr Federico Lombardi SJ told a press conference the Pope will keep the name “His Holiness, Benedict XVI” and will dress in a simple white cassock without the mozzetta (elbow-length cape).

More than 50,000 tickets have been requested for the Pope's final general audience Wednesday morning, Rome time, but a bigger crowd is expected. On its conclusion, the Pope will go to the Clementine Hall of the Vatican Palace to meet some of the civil authorities who are present in Rome or who have travelled to farewell him. Among the dignitaries will be the presidents of Slovakia and the German region of Bavaria.

On Thursday morning, the last day of his pontificate, the Pope will meet the cardinals who are present in Rome. At 4.55pm, in the San Damaso courtyard of the Vatican Apostolic Palace and before a detachment of Swiss Guards, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone SDB will bid him farewell. The Pope's helicopter will land at Castel Gandolfo at 5.15pm.

Benedict XVI will appear on the balcony of the Castel Gandolfo Apostolic Palace to greet those who have gathered in the square to wish him well. The Sede Vacante will begin at 8pm and the Swiss Guards assigned to him at Castel Gandolfo will take their leave, as their corps is dedicated to safeguarding the Roman Pontiff. Instead, the Vatican Gendarmerie will take responsibility for the Pope emeritus' safety.

Fr Lombardi said Bendict XVI would no longer use the “Fisherman's Ring”, which will be destroyed along with the lead seal of the pontificate. He will also no longer wear the red papal shoes.

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