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

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs