12 Interesting Facts about Benedict’s Retired Status (His name, title, clothes, residence, etc.)

Life after the Papacy. A very rare event. The blogosphere and Twitter-land have been buzzing with information true and false about Pope Benedict’s status and plans for retirement. Here are 12 facts that I was able to verify about his name, titles, clothing, accommodations, and other unusual circumstances:

  1. Benedict will live at the Castel Gandolfo (south of Rome) until after the cardinals elect a new Pope.
  2. Benedict’s golden “ring of the fishermen” was crushed. According to tradition, it will be melted down and made into the new ring of the next Pope. Is has not been confirmed whether this tradition will be preserved during this historically unique transition.
  3. Benedict will retain his papal name of “Benedict” and not resort back to the Joseph Ratzinger, as had been reported by some. (However, the next Pope could ask him to resort to plain-old “Joseph” if he insisted on it.)
  4. Benedict’s title will be “Pope Emeritus.” He will continued to be styled “Your Holiness” and “His Holiness.”
  5. Benedict will continue to wear the white papal cassock but without the shoulder cape.
  6. Benedict will give up the papal red shoes. It is reported that he will wear brown shoes instead.
  7. He will not participate in the papal conclave in the coming days. He has wisely chosen to isolate himself from those events.
  8. The Swiss Guard no longer protects or serves Benedict as he is no longer the Pope.
  9. After the election of the new Pope, Benedict will live a former convent called Mater Ecclesiae (Mother of the Church) in the southwest corner of Vatican City. 
  10. The photogenic Archbishop Georg Ganswein will continue to serve as Benedict XVI’s personal secretary at Mater Ecclesiae.
  11. It is reported that Benedict’s favorite cat, Contessina, will live with him at Mater Ecclesia in the Vatican.
  12. Benedict, while being styled Pope Emeritus, is no longer a Pope. He has no canonical jurisdiction and cannot invoke papal infallibility. Canonically, he will be like any other retired archbishop.
Question: Do you know about anything else that we should know about Benedict’s retirement? Please leave a comment.
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