Official Title for Pope Benedict after Abdication

One of the first questions raised by the announcement of Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation earlier this month—what will the “retired” pontiff be called?—has finally received an official answer from the Vatican.

“He will still be called His Holiness Benedict XVI … But he will also be called Pope Emeritus or Roman Pontiff Emeritus,” said Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, at a press briefing today in Rome.

Lombardi offered further details about Benedict’s final days as pope; from Catholic News Agency:

There will also be a highly symbolic moment to signal the end of the Pope’s ministry.
The Swiss Guards will be standing at the gates of Castel Gandolfo and at 8:00 p.m. they will leave their stations.

“They symbolically protect the Pope, so they will no longer be necessary. But don’t worry because there will still be Vatican police protecting the Vatican gardens and its surroundings,” Fr. Lombardi explained.

Fifty thousand tickets have been given out for Pope Benedict’s last general audience tomorrow, but Vatican officials are expecting more people.

Fr. Lombardi said the general audience will follow its usual procedure and will have the pontiff travel around St. Peter’s Square in his popemobile.

Lombardi also specified that Benedict will wear a simple white cassock as Pope Emeritus, without the mozzetta, or short cape, that he wears as Supreme Pontiff. There was also this detail, about the Holy Father’s famous red shoes:

“The city of Leon is known for beautiful shoes, and very comfortable shoes. And when the Pope was asked what he wanted to wear he said, ‘I want the shoes from Leon in Mexico,’” Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told journalists Feb. 26.

“It will no longer be the red shoes that you have seen him wear. He has chosen to keep brown shoes that were given to him on his recent trip,” he said.

And Benedict will not keep his Fisherman’s ring, as some had speculated he might:

He will replace the Fisherman’s ring worn by Popes with an episcopal ring from his time as Cardinal Ratzinger. The Pope’s ring and seal will be broken at a particular moment determined by the College of Cardinals and its chamberlain, in accordance with the sede vacante norms.


Pittsburgh Catholic Newspaper – News and Features

News & Features

Piling on Pope Benedict

current article

by: David Mills

It seems that every pundit has an opinion about the Holy Father

Catholic Sense

As soon as Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation, you knew that everyone and his brother would be saying something about it, and that some of them would take the chance to make whatever anti-Catholic points they could. Even I, who read a lot of the secular press, didn’t expect the piling on we’ve seen.

We get the supposed experts who explain to their readers what’s really going on in that weird mysterious world of the Catholic Church. The church lives its life before the world in a way rare for institutions its size (How much do we really know about what goes on in Congress, for example?), but many people think the church is something like the Central Intelligence Agency. Some of these supposed experts just get things wrong, like the television reporter who solemnly told his viewers that Catholics wouldn’t know who to pray to this Easter and the Protestant magazine that explained Catholics believe in “the divinity of the pope.”

For some reason journalists can make almost any mistake about the church or religion in general and no one says “boo.” No editor would hire a guy who said the Steelers were going to draft a point guard to help improve their relief pitching, but religion? There it’s “OK, whatever, just say something.”

Then there are all the editors and writers who decided that the problem with Pope Benedict was that he didn’t agree with them. Many of them claimed concern for the future of the Catholic Church if it didn’t stop being so irrelevant and out of step, which meant … if it didn’t stop disagreeing with them.

After Benedict, declared the editors of the Washington Post, the church will still suffer “debilitating problems … above all, how to remain relevant to an increasingly secular world and to its own changing membership.” For them and the other writers of this sort, being relevant always means giving up Catholic teaching on sexuality and life issues like embryonic stem-cell research, with only a very few of them also mentioning its outdated doctrines.

The usual journalistic form for this kind of article is praise first, even if thin, then criticism. The editors started with criticism and didn’t let up until the end. And even when they praised the pope they didn’t really praise him, claiming that the only two achievements they mentioned “came in response to the backlash triggered by his reactionary acts.” Which was not, as a matter of fact, true, but the whole editorial showed that the editors were a little wobbly on the facts.

And then there are the really cheap shots, like writer William Saletan’s attempt at the classic “gotcha” article. As the heading put it: “Catholics who eulogized Pope John Paul II for serving to the bitter end now praise Pope Benedict for quitting. Make up your minds.” The title in the web link called it “Catholic hypocrisy.”

Saletan quoted people like George Weigel and Peggy Noonan as if they were just saying whatever they needed to say to praise the pope at the moment. “A clash between these two schools won’t be as tidy as a chorus of gymnastic apologists bent on defending both popes,” he said. “But it will be more fruitful and more honest.”

“More honest.” Were Saletan honest enough to try to understand someone else’s point of view, he would see that one can think John Paul II did the right thing in his circumstance and that Benedict did the right thing in his, or that both of them were doing the best they could when the right thing to do is not obvious. But then, if he honestly took them seriously, he couldn’t write the “gotcha” article about “Catholic hypocrisy.”

Reading all this can leave you feeling cranky. But there are two things to be said.

First, the church and its earthly head still have such importance in the world that all these people feel they have to try to bend it in their direction. This is true of no other Christian body.

And second, as G.K. Chesterton said in his great little book “The Catholic Church and Conversion,” the first stage of conversion is often feeling that someone’s being unfair to the church. Many people, reading this kind of thing, will feel some sympathy for Pope Benedict and his church, and from there they may find their way in. The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church, as Tertullian said in the second century, and the bruises of the popes may be, too.

Mills is executive editor of First Things ( He can be reached at

via Pittsburgh Catholic Newspaper – News and Features.


As a youngster raised Catholic i can recall that the Pope was the visible head of our Church. The Pope was Italian and lived in a place called the Vatican. I don’t recall anyone reading the encyclicals of the Pontiff-i assumed those were for the Bishops,Priests and religious orders to read. I do recall good instruction in the faith.We used the Baltimore Catechism.God forbid you decided you didn’t want to go to Mass on Sunday. It was the same as not going to school-if you weren’t really sick then you didn’t go out to play either. However, i honestly looked forward to Mass each Sunday. It was family day.

Then one day,fast forward, a young cardinal that no one had ever heard of stepped out on the balcony of St Peter’s Square as they  announced Habemus Papum. He wasn’t Italian. Little did we know he would leave that far away place,the Vatican,many times over. At the same time as this young Polish Cardinal ,Karol Józef Wojtyła,took the name of John Paul II a  cable network called EWTN was being founded by a little Italian nun, Mother Angelica. 

The Vatican was no longer a far away place. The Pope was no longer a distant figure though we highly respected him and understood the office.I learned that the encyclicals were as much letters to the faithful as to the Bishops,priests,religious and worth reading.I’m sure there were far more Catholics who followed the papacy closely but when you’re young and the media was limited (3 news stations)i didn’t know many in the little world i lived in that did. Age has its benefits. 

Fast forward again; Blessed John Paul II passed away and again a conclave was called. Again,we would hear the word Habemus Papum. I watched with my husband and as the white smoke came out i ran across the street knowing my father would be watching.i wanted to share the moment with him. I was thrilled to hear the words Ratzinger. I  could see the gathered crowd shared my excitement. 

The media was puzzled. They asked, “don’t they know he’s conservative?” I realized how clueless they are.I would ask that the media step aside and consult with the faithful of the Church before they jump into this mindless commentary. You know what they do..of course you do.

They seek out that one dissident. They seek out that one unfaithful Catholic who they probably KNOW isn’t practicing anyway.Here is a newsflash. i can now turn to EWTN and actually  be informed.i actually love the Church and am not twisted up in knots to be obedient to the teachings of the Church. I can read your commentary and realize how silly it really is.

So now we will hear those words again,Habemus Papam. You will spend weeks speculating on who might be Pope or even SHOULD be Pope ,telling the conclave how you think they should vote.You will trash the doctrines that you find outdated not realizing the Pope cannot and will not change them.If you don’t take it upon yourselves to trash the Church then you will give air time to that dissident who will do it for you. The faithful know better. Those who are not or people who are anti Catholic will take that one (supposed)Catholic and his words as fact.BTW, They are called DOCTRINES or DOGMA for a reason.

It was exactly that  evil of MORAL RELATIVISM Pope Benedict XVI so to the point and yet eloquently spoke against. Do your research media. Look into what it is you are clueless about and I would be glad to give you some credit for giving us information that is INFORMED(the two words are connected,right?).

You are free to speculate but i can tell you with certainty-it’s not the race for the White House and you will not know who is going to be Pope any sooner than we will. We will not know until they pronounce the words,Habemus Papum. Praise God!At 4:00 pm EST today i will be watching the series Catholicism on EWTN. IF you intend to report on the Church
you might do well to get the series. It would help–>
Part III(conclusion)tomorrow(Monday)

HABEMUS PAPUM!-Pope Benedict xVI and John Paul II

Dear Cher(this will be a side note btw)

I was going to put up an entry re Pope Benedict the XVI as Part II but we’re taking a side trail for a moment.Will do part iI tonight. It seems that Cher has attacked Ted Cruz and has raised the ire of more than a few people.

i don’t spend a great deal of time(actually none)llooking into the goings on of celebrities.So let’s not say that i’m singling out Cher.She is the one who made the comments about Cruz though and i noticed my twitter timeline had some comments.

Cher is a tad older than me. I am old enough to remember Sony And Cher when she was first married to Sony and a young 16 yr old. I wake up each morning these days and realize i’m no longer that teen of 13,14.In fact i wake up each day with gratitude that i did wake up.None of us can ever take a breathe for granted. I look 60. My husband looks 60. We are not the people we were when we first married. That’s fine. Life is meant to be this way. Like most people we don’t live in a 20 room mansion w/ a swimming pool all for one person. Yet,We lack nothing. I can’t imagine that many rooms and how empty they must feel. On the other hand i would guess if you’re a celebrity and people want to be next to fame those rooms could be filled up quickly Still,they seem empty.

We live in a decent place. Nothing fancy,but we’re grateful. There’s no guarantee that what we have won’t be gone tomorrow. We’re on a fixed income but that’s ok too. I have no desire for fame,not even 15 min. Life passes all of us in a blink of an eye. What matters to most of us is that one day each of us will stand before God and have to give an account of our lives.

He’s not going to ask how famous, popular, young,vivacious,rich we are.

It is that moment in eternity one can try to live fast enough, full enough,busy enough,noisily(yes,we do try to fill our days w/ ‘racket’) enough to convince ourselves it will never come.

Christians(I’m Catholic btw)-who tend to be Conservative for a number of reasons-are attacked on a regular basis. Christians who may also be conservative and hold office are demonized. Frankly i don’t see the need. We’re generally aware of our shortcomings,failures and sins(yes, i actually used that word). I often have to make sure my ego & pride doesn’t get in the way of being honest with myself. 

My problem with Cher and other celebrities is the time they spend demonizng good ppl like Ted Cruz or attacking good decent everyday Americans who happen to be Christian.Yet, they pride themselves on tolerance. Please don’t get too caught up in yourselves.Your celebrity could wane. What you have to say may not carry as much weight with the masses tomorrow as it does today. What the world looks down upon,God raises up and He’s in charge.
Bishop Sheen
Incidentally Cher if you ever watched Bishop Sheen’s Life is Worth Living(EWTN runs it now)you know he often spoke about the dangers of Communism. Anyone who thinks the ideology went down with the fall of the Berlin Wall is kidding themselves. Maybe there’s no hammer and sickle, a murderous Stalin/Mao or a Kruschev banging his shoe on a table saying they will bury the West but that doesn’t mean the ideology vanished into thin air. I cringe when i see young people proudly wearing a t-shirt with an image of Che Guevara.He’s not some benign folk hero-awesome revolutionary. He was a blood thirsty communist thug who died in 1967. These ‘kids’ don’t seem to know the truth about him.I dread that they lack any real idea of history.I’m not one to believe there is a Marxist under every rock but maybe that’s not where they are hiding.If they are hiding at all. Maybe they’re out in plain sight going by a different name(same ideology).

I also dread that some young people take our country for granted.They are being led down the path of eat,drink and be merry. We’re only 200 yr old and there have been empires larger and stronger than ours that have fallen.Germany was a CULTURED society. They weren’t a great deal different than us. They took for granted what happened there could never happen there either.So i would be cautious Cher in demonizing good ppl like Ted Cruz. For average every day Americans[ there are more of us than you think but you don’t exactly rub shoulders with us every day] he is a man speaking truth to power.

Last,but not least,you name dropped one other person in a tweet; Blessed Mother Therese
Bl Mother Therese
Speech at National Prayer Breakfast. When you have a few min hope you will read:

and the gates of hell,shall not prevail


Before we go into the abdication of Pope Benedict the XVI let’s get the prophecies of St Malachi out of the way. They are not authentic. Fr Mitch Pacwa put them to rest on Threshold of Hope. They were written YEARS after the saints death or as he put it the Malarky prophecies. Argue if you like we are moving on.
First of all PBXVI is not abandoning anyone. The Church has a thing called apostolic succession which it has had from the beginning.When Judas needed replaced,they voted.They lay on hands. St. Paul said,hold fast to the traditions i have given you either orally(spoken)or written.The Church has, from authority to traditions, handed down all she has been given. First and foremost when Jesus gave Peter the keys,HE promised evil would not triumph over the Church.The Church is both human and divine.
Jesus never said evil would not exist not even with the people in His Church.Nor that a Pope would become immortal in this life because he had authority-only that evil would not triumph. He also said,whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven,loose on earth,loosed in heaven.Note that the authority begins here.
Of course anti Catholics are quick to point out there were very openly sinful popes. Yes,there were a number of them. I say it is those popes, as well as the saintly,holy ones who attest to the truth of Jesus words. They never touched doctrine. Finally, for those who think this week has been difficult for the Church they have only to look to the past(begin with the Acts of the Apostles)to know that the Church has ALWAYS faced turmoil but has come out stronger for it.It will be that way until the end of time. In fact she has faced periods of great persecution and in the last days it may be the worst.

As you read all the commentary about Pope Benedict the XVI’s abdication keep those words of Jesus in mind.
Matthew 16:18

King James Version (KJV)

18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
When all the questions,arguments,concerns arise(as they will)recall those words.

We may also want to reflect on the Pontificate of Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict the XVI briefly.John Paul II taught us by example the teachings of the Church on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death.He remained until his last breathe. He went before God-despite rumblings re his incapacity-and with a clear conscience stayed on. The Church suffered in some respects for his decision but learned from a far greater lesson. I think now we expect that all Popes-regardless of circumstances- will follow suit. This is not necessarily the key point.It is that John Paul II made the decision. When a Pope abdicates (resign is our cultural term-we can use it but abdicate is the more accurate one)he does not put in a request. One of his titles,among others,is Supreme Pontiff. He can seek advice and counsel or he may not but ultimately it is his decision. Bear in mind that no one is forced to accept the Petrine Ministry. Each one is elected and may refuse. Bear in mind also that the Pontiff takes no ‘I will remain or I will leave this ministry’ vow after he is elected.

There is no vow to stay until death or abdicate if they become incapacitated. IMHO this is an issue the Church might wrestle with now.We’ll get to that. In our Modern Age given all the advances in medicine it is possible for a Pope to live a longer but not necessarily healthier life. There are a lot of factors most of which depend upon the individual.Who would have known that Pope John Paul (I)would only be Pope for 33 days or that John Paul II would be Pope for 26 yrs?
( A reminder that no matter how advanced medicine becomes some things are just out of our hands).
We assumed because John Paul II was a young pope he would have a long pontificate. A fairly safe assumption. It is usually the case. We could probably have just as easily assumed Pope Benedict the XVI would have a shorter pontificate-not the 26 yr John Paul II had-because he was 78 when he was elected. The bottom line is this: each decision,in spite of pressure to either remain or abdicate,rests with one person who examine his conscience before God. The Holy Father tells us he goes before God with a clear conscience then we ,in charity,take his word for it.
We can also remind ourselves of the words of Christ. The gates of hell will not prevail. We have been blessed in our time to have 2 holy Popes who enriched the Church-who were 2 sides of the same coin so to speak. They were different in personality,style,age, experience and their writings.They both gave so much to the Church and guided her through the sometimes turbulent waters of post Vatican II. PART I……….hang in,it gets better.Part II Sunday Night. We’re going to delve into the usual circus of media speculation and i DEFINITELY have a few words to say about that.