UK & World News

  • 26 February 2013, 17:18

Pope Gets New Title And Drops 'Prada' Shoes

Pope Benedict XVI will be called "Emeritus Pope" after he retires later this week, the Vatican has announced.

Benedict himself had made the decision in consultation with others, settling on "Your Holiness Benedict XVI" and either emeritus pope or emeritus Roman pontiff, according to Vatican spokesman Rev Federico Lombardi.

Rev Lombardi said the Pope is praying and preparing to move out on Thursday when he officially stands down as leader of the world's 1.2billion Roman Catholics.

Fifty thousand tickets have been given out for the Pope's final General Audience on Wednesday morning in St Peter's Square.

He will greet his followers from the Popemobile and the proceedings will be televised live.

On Thursday, Pope Benedict will meet his cardinals for the last time before leaving the Vatican that afternoon for a short flight by helicopter to Castel Gandolfo.

There he will greet members of the local parish from a balcony in his last public appearance as Pope.

That night, the gates of Castle Gandolfo will close and the Swiss Guard will withdraw as Pope Benedict's tenure officially comes to an end.

Vatican police will take over guarding Benedict XVI when he is no longer the Pope.

Rev Lombardi said he would continue to wear a simple white cassock, but his footwear would change.

Gone will be the red "Prada" loafers, replaced by brown shoes made in Leon, Mexico.

A pair was given to the Pope on a recent trip there. After Thursday, the Pope's "fisherman's ring" will also be destroyed.

Benedict XVI will remain at Castel Gandolfo until renovations have been completed on the monastery inside the walls of the Vatican where he will spend the rest of his days.

Rev Lombardi said the general congregations, when all Cardinals meet to discuss the problems facing the Catholic Church, will probably begin on March 4.

A date for the start of the conclave to elect a new Pope has not yet been announced but the rules have been changed allowing the calendar of events to be moved forward.

The election of a successor comes as the Catholic Church continues to be mired in scandal.

On Monday, Scotland's Cardinal Keith O'Brien resigned amid allegations of "inappropriate behaviour".