News / Europe

Pope Prays, Packs Ahead of Vatican Departure

Tourists are reflected in a portrait of Pope Benedict XVI's in St. Peter's Square, a day before the Pope's last general audience, the Vatican, Feb. 26, 2013.
Tourists are reflected in a portrait of Pope Benedict XVI's in St. Peter's Square, a day before the Pope's last general audience, the Vatican, Feb. 26, 2013.
Reuters
Pope Benedict was praying and packing on Tuesday two days before his move out of the Vatican and into retirement where he will assume the title of "pope emeritus" and still be referred to as "your holiness."
 
The Vatican said Benedict was spending a quiet Tuesday in the apostolic palace with no audiences.
 
"Today is a day dedicated to prayer and preparation for the events of the next two days," Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said at a daily news briefing.
 
Lombardi said the pope was sifting through documents to see which will remain in the Vatican and go into the archives of his papacy and deciding which "are of a personal nature and which he will take to his new residence."
 
Among the documents left for the next pope will be a confidential report by three cardinals into the "Vatileaks" affair last year when Benedict's former butler leaked private papers revealing corruption and in-fighting inside the Vatican.
 
The new pope will inherit a Church marked by Vatileaks and by child abuse scandals by priests in Europe and the United States, both of which may have weighed on Benedict's decision to decide he was too old and weak to continue the papacy.
 
The pope has two days left before he takes the historic step of becoming the first pontiff in some six centuries to step down instead of ruling for life.
 
Given the unique nature of the occasion, Vatican officials have had to find a title for the former pope, decide how he should be addressed and what he should wear.
 
After two weeks of consultations with aides, theologians and historians, the Vatican announced the status Benedict will assume after he is no longer leader of the 1.2 billion-member Roman Catholic Church.
 
Benedict will be known as "pope emeritus Benedict XVI" or "Roman Pontiff emeritus Benedict XVI," be addressed as "Your Holiness," and be referred to as "His Holiness Benedict XVI."
 
This means that after the election of the new pope next month there will be two men with the title holiness'' in the Vatican at the same time.
 
Mexican shoes
 
Upon retiring Pope Benedict XVI will lay aside the red Upon retiring Pope Benedict XVI will lay aside the red "shoes of the fisherman" that have been part of his papal attire, Guanajuato airport, Silao, March 26, 2012.
x
Upon retiring Pope Benedict XVI will lay aside the red
Upon retiring Pope Benedict XVI will lay aside the red "shoes of the fisherman" that have been part of his papal attire, Guanajuato airport, Silao, March 26, 2012.
Benedict will lay aside the red "shoes of the fisherman" that have been part of his papal attire and wear brown loafers given to him by shoemakers during a trip to Leon, Mexico, last year. He will wear a "simple white cassock," Lombardi said.
 
Benedict's lead seal and his ring of office, known as the "ring of the fisherman," will be destroyed according to Church rules, just as if he had died.
 
The Vatican released a detailed schedule of the pope's last two days on the "Throne of St. Peter."
 
On Wednesday he will hold his last general audience, a weekly event which would normally be held in a vast auditorium in winter, but has been moved outdoors to St. Peter's Square so more people can attend.
 
Some 50,000 people have asked for tickets, which are free, but many more are expected to attend and stand at the back of the square.
 
Benedict will then meet some foreign leaders. On Thursday, he will greet cardinals in Rome, many of whom have come to take place in the conclave to elect his successor.
 
That afternoon at 5 p.m. [1600 UTC] he will fly by helicopter to the papal summer retreat at Castel Gandolfo, a 15-minute journey south of Rome.
 
There, he will make an appearance from the window of the papal villa to greet residents and well-wishers expected to gather in the small square.
 
That will be Pope Benedict's last public appearance.
 
At 8 p.m. [1900 UTC] the Swiss Guards who stand as sentries at the residence will march off in a sign that the papacy is vacant.
 
Benedict will move into a convent in the Vatican in April, after it has been restored.
 
On Friday, cardinals in Rome will begin meetings known as "general congregations" to prepare for the secret conclave that will elect a new pope.
 
This week Benedict changed Church rules so that cardinals could begin the conclave earlier than the 15 days after the papacy becomes vacant, prescribed by the previous law.
 
The change means that the cardinals, in their pre-conclave meetings, can themselves decide when to start.
 
The Vatican appears to be aiming to have a new pope elected by mid-March and installed before Palm Sunday on March 24 so he can preside at Holy Week services leading to Easter.
 
Cardinals have begun informal consultations by phone and email in the past two weeks since Benedict said he was quitting.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Kafantaris from: USA Ohio
February 26, 2013 7:33 PM
“This is the test. Do you love your unknown neighbor as yourself? Do you love your dirty, hairy, smelly, dispossessed neighbor as yourself, and will you reach out to help?”
"Everything else is footnotes.”

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More