Pope Benedict gets new title, loses ring & red shoes

12:53 PM, Feb 26, 2013   |    comments
  • Pope Benedict XVI's red shoes are seen as he attends his welcoming ceremony at the Bellevue Palace in Berlin on September 22, 2011, the first day of the Pontiff's first state visit to his native Germany. (JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Pope Benedict XVI leads the Eucharistic celebration before giving to the 24 newly appointed cardinals their ring on November 21, 2010 at St Peter's basilica at The Vatican. (ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)
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ROME (USA Today) -- Pope Benedict XVI will soon be the world's first prelate to be known as "Roman pontiff emeritus," and will carry the full title "His Holiness Benedict XVI, Roman pontiff emeritus."

Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi announced Tuesday that after the 8 p.m. close of business at the Vatican Thursday, Benedict loses his Swiss Guard (they're only for the acting pope) and gives up his papal ring (it will be smashed).

He keeps the white cassock but bye-bye to fashionista's favorite touch, the red shoes.

Instead, Benedict will shift to a pair of brown shoes he was given on the 2012 papal visit to Mexico, according to the National Catholic Reporter.

More than 50,000 tickets have been requested for his final general audience in St. Peter's Square on Wednesday. Thursday, he meets with cardinals and civil dignitaries.

Then, just three hours before the end of the papacy, Benedict will take a helicopter off to Castel Gandolfo, the papal retreat outside Rome, where he will greet the public.

The retired archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, who is going to Rome for Thursday's farewell but is too old to vote in the conclave, said Tuesday that the cardinals will meet for eight to 10 days of advisory talks before they begin the conclave.

That information went out on a tweet from a London Catholic paper, The Tablet. But there will be no tweeting from the Sistine Chapel. "Conclave" means "to lock with a key" and the cardinals will be sealed off from social media once they enter.

(USA Today)

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