Tuesday, February 26, 2013


With only two full days left of Pope Benedict XVI's papacy, more details emerged Tuesday of what the future holds both for the retiring pontiff and the cardinals who will choose his successor.

The pontiff will keep the name Benedict XVI and still be addressed as "his holiness" once he retires, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told reporters at the Vatican.

He will also be known as pope emeritus, emeritus pope or Roman pontifex emeritus.

The guidance clears up questions about how Benedict -- the first pope to resign in almost 600 years -- should be addressed as he moves into a life of seclusion and prayer after his Thursday resignation.
Not only do we learn of the proper way to address the retired pope, we learn of how he will dress.
He will wear a simple white cassock, without the customary red mantle of the pontiff. He will also no longer wear red shoes, probably adopting instead the brown shoes that he received as a gift in Leon, Mexico, during a trip last year.
I will miss the red shoes and the red mantle trimmed with ermine, with matching camauro, which reminded me a little of a Santa Claus hat.  The Vatican has not addressed such decisions in 600 years, since the last pope stepped down, and I'm sure other adjustments will follow as Benedict settles into his retirement.  Since change is in the air at the Vatican, my advice to the two popes would be to change the form of address from "Your Holiness" and "His Holiness" to something less presumptuous, but I don't expect my suggestion will be followed.

Picture of the pope's red shoes from Wikipedia.

H/T to Charles Pierce for the link to CNN.