Retired Benedict to be known as ‘emeritus pope’

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THE Pope is to be known as “emeritus pope” after he retires and will continue to wear a white cassock, the Vatican has announced.

Vatican spokesman the Rev Federico Lombardi said that Benedict himself made the decisions. The Pope’s title and what he would wear has been a major question ever since he stunned the world and announced he would resign.

While he will no longer wear his trademark red shoes, Benedict has taken a liking to a pair of hand-crafted brown loafers made for him by artisans in Leon, Mexico, and presented to him during his visit last year. He will wear them in retirement. He will be called “Your Holiness Benedict XVI” and either emeritus pope or emeritus Roman pontiff, the Rev Lombardi said.

He also elaborated on the College of Cardinals meetings that will take place after the papacy becomes vacant tomorrow – crucial gatherings in which cardinals will discuss the problems facing the Church and set a date for the start of the conclave to elect the successor. The first meeting is not now expected until Monday since the official convocation to cardinals to come to Rome will only go out on Friday – the first day of what is known as the “sede vacante”, or the vacancy between papacies. In all, 115 cardinals are expected in Rome for the conclave to vote on who should become the next pope.