Skip to main content

Vatican reveals Pope Benedict's new title

By Hada Messia and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
updated 8:41 AM EST, Thu February 28, 2013
Pope Benedict XVI waves in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican in December 2012. Benedict, 85, announced on Monday, February 11, that he will resign at the end of February "because of advanced age." The last pope to resign was Gregory XII in 1415. Pope Benedict XVI waves in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican in December 2012. Benedict, 85, announced on Monday, February 11, that he will resign at the end of February "because of advanced age." The last pope to resign was Gregory XII in 1415.
HIDE CAPTION
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Benedict XVI will keep his name and still be addressed as "his holiness" after he resigns
  • He will give up the red mantle and shoes of the pope and dress in a simple white robe
  • As he leaves office at 8 p.m. Thursday, the Swiss Guards will leave Castel Gandolfo
  • Cardinals are already gathering in Rome ahead of their meeting to choose the pope's successor

Rome (CNN) -- 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.

Interactive: Where does the pope live?

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.

Vatican scandal before pope resigns
Who will be the next pope?
CNN Explains: Papal succession

Benedict will hold his final general audience Wednesday, for which 50,000 tickets have been given out, Lombardi said, though many more people than that could show up.

The pope in retirement: What to expect

Benedict will arrive in his Popemobile, which will drive around St. Peter's Square among the faithful before the pope gives the address. He won't give the usual brief personal greetings to people afterward but will meet delegations of heads of state in Vatican City later.

Benedict will meet with the cardinals who are already in Rome on Thursday morning.

The 85-year-old will then be flown by helicopter to Castel Gandolfo, the pope's summer residence near Rome, in the afternoon. The church bell will toll and he will make his very last public appearance, greeting crowds from a balcony there.

At the moment that Benedict's papacy ends, at 8 p.m. local time, the Swiss Guards -- the soldiers who for more than five centuries have protected the pope and his residence -- will leave the gates of Castel Gandolfo. He will from that point have Vatican police protection instead.

Benedict will stay there until work to restore a monastery within the Vatican grounds is completed later in the spring.

Scandal threatens to overshadow pope's final days

Cardinals gather

Meanwhile, the cardinals who must elect the new pope are already gathering in Rome, Lombardi said.

The dean cardinal will on March 1 summon the cardinals to a general congregation, Lombardi said. That could come as soon as March 4, although the date is not yet fixed.

The cardinals will then decide exactly when to hold the conclave, during which they vote for the new pontiff.

Special prayers will be said during the "sede vacante," or empty seat, period, seeking guidance for the election of the new pope. The cardinals will lead the prayers.

After his resignation, Benedict -- who cited the frailty of age as the reason he resigned -- will no longer use the Fisherman's Ring, the symbol of the pope, Lombardi said. The ring will be destroyed, along with Benedict's papal seal, after his departure from office.

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.

Pope leads final public prayer

Catholic population in numbers  Catholic population in numbers
Catholic population in numbersCatholic population in numbers
Catholic population in numbers  Catholic population in numbers
Catholic population in numbersCatholic population in numbers
Catholic population in numbers  Catholic population in numbers
Catholic population in numbersCatholic population in numbers
Catholic population in numbers  Catholic population in numbers
Catholic population in numbersCatholic population in numbers
Catholic population in numbers  Catholic population in numbers
Catholic population in numbersCatholic population in numbers
Catholic population in percentages  Catholic population in percentages
Catholic population in percentages Catholic population in percentages
Catholic population in percentages  Catholic population in percentages
Catholic population in percentages Catholic population in percentages
Catholic population in percentages  Catholic population in percentages
Catholic population in percentages Catholic population in percentages
Catholic population in percentages  Catholic population in percentages
Catholic population in percentages Catholic population in percentages
Catholic population in percentages  Catholic population in percentages
Catholic population in percentages Catholic population in percentages

Swirling rumors

Benedict shocked the Roman Catholic world when he announced his resignation two weeks ago.

His final week in office has been clouded by scandal, with allegations swirling in the Italian media that gay clergy may have made themselves vulnerable to blackmail by male prostitutes.

The Vatican vehemently denied the allegations Saturday.

Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone said it was "deplorable" that as the time for the Roman Catholic cardinals to elect a new pope approaches, a rash of "often unverified, unverifiable or completely false news stories" has appeared.

Benedict also moved up the resignation Monday of a Scottish archbishop linked over the weekend by a British newspaper to inappropriate relationships with priests.

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the archbishop of Scotland, told the pope in November that he would resign effective on his 75th birthday, on March 17.

Opinion: Benedict a pope aware of his flaws

But Benedict decided to make the resignation effective immediately in light of the pope's imminent resignation, the Scottish Catholic Media Office said.

The announcement came a day after a report by the British Sunday newspaper The Observer that three priests and one former priest leveled allegations against O'Brien that date back 30 years.

Speaking in London on Tuesday, one of Britain's most senior Roman Catholics, the former Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, described the circumstances of O'Brien's resignation as "very sad."

Murphy-O'Connor said that it was O'Brien's decision to step down and that he had not been forced or asked to do so. He described O'Brien as a "very honest man."

An apostolic administrator, most likely a senior bishop, will examine the allegations against O'Brien, Murphy-O'Connor said.

He also said he was in no doubt that there needs to be reform within the Roman Catholic Church and that the issues being raised now need to be addressed "at the highest level."

CNN's Hada Messia reported from Rome and Laura Smith-Spark wrote in London. Jo Shelley contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:39 PM EST, Sat December 13, 2014
According to widely cited Italian media reports, Pope Francis recently told a young boy grieving the loss of a pet dog that "paradise is open to all God's creatures."
updated 11:59 AM EST, Tue December 2, 2014
Pope Francis said that modern slavery is a "crime against humanity" and is "unfortunately becoming worse and worse every day."
updated 5:31 PM EST, Mon November 17, 2014
Pope Francis is to make his first trip to the United States as the head of the Catholic Church next September.
A Vatican report says the church should welcome and appreciate gays, and offers a solution for divorced and remarried Catholics who want to receive Communion.
updated 8:59 AM EDT, Mon June 23, 2014
Using his strongest language to date, Pope Francis told Italian Mafia members that they are excommunicated from the Catholic Church.
updated 6:08 PM EDT, Thu September 11, 2014
"Drug addiction is an evil, and with evil there can be no yielding or compromise," Pope Francis said.
updated 12:45 PM EDT, Fri June 20, 2014
No topic has been off limits for Pope Francis so far.
updated 5:33 PM EDT, Sat June 14, 2014
Pope Francis prefers not to use a bulletproof Popemobile because it is a glass "sardine can" that walls him off from people.
updated 12:58 AM EDT, Mon June 9, 2014
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli President Shimon Peres committed themselves to the quest for peace with Pope Francis.
updated 2:46 PM EDT, Fri May 23, 2014
As the Holy Land prepares for a papal visit, Ivan Watson speaks to the man preparing to honor the pontiff with his food.
updated 12:31 PM EDT, Thu March 13, 2014
Not a jot of doctrine has changed in the year since Francis became Pope. But there's more than one way to measure his impact.
updated 10:01 AM EST, Sat February 22, 2014
Pope Francis created 19 new cardinals in a ceremony in the Vatican's St. Peter's Basilica -- the first such appointments since he was elected pontiff.
updated 9:36 AM EDT, Thu March 13, 2014
"The spring evening in which Pope Francis was elected is an apt symbol of the beginning of his papacy and the years that will follow," writes a priest.
updated 11:05 AM EST, Fri February 14, 2014
In a gesture towards Valentine's Day, Pope Francis gave his advice on how to have a happy marriage before thousands of couples.
updated 4:10 PM EDT, Wed March 12, 2014
Take a look at Pope Francis' first year in photos with our gallery.
updated 6:43 PM EST, Thu November 7, 2013
It was the embrace that melted hearts worldwide.
updated 5:59 AM EDT, Wed April 3, 2013
On Easter Sunday, Pope Francis kisses and hugs disabled boy lifted up in the crowd.
updated 12:09 PM EDT, Thu April 11, 2013
With the new pope himself a trained scientist, could the timing could be right for a new era of cooperation between the Vatican and science?
updated 2:56 PM EDT, Sat March 16, 2013
Pope Francis is being painted as a humble and simple man, but his past is tinged with controversy.
ADVERTISEMENT