The latest about after the Pope’s resignation

The Vatican has released some more details about what happens after Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation is effective at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday evening Rome Time.

His title will be “Pontiff Emeritus” and he will be addressed as “His Holiness, Benedict XVI.”

He will wear a white cassock without mozetta (the arm length white cape), and will no longer wear the red papal shoes.

His “fisherman’s ring” and the lead seal of his papacy will be destroyed.

When the hour arrives for the “Sede Vacante” to begin, the Pope will be at Castel Gandolfo. At that time, the Swiss Guard will take their leave and return to the Vatican, since they are charged to protect only the Roman Pontiff. The Vatican Gendarmes will from that moment on be responsible for the safety and security of the Pontiff Emeritus.

The last public appearance as Pope Benedict will take place on Wednesday morning for a General Audience in St. Peter’s Square. Huge crowds are expected, and more than 50,000 tickets have already been issued. At the conclusion of the audience the Holy Father will circle around the crowd in the Popemobile in order to greet them more closely.

Thursday, the last day of his pontificate, he will meet with the Cardinals who are present in Rome, in order to greet each one personally. There will be no speeches at this event. He is scheduled to travel by helicopter to the Papal Residence at Castel Gandolfo at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, arriving at approximately 5:15 pm. He will greet the civil dignitaries upon his arrival, and then will bless the people of Castel Gandolfo from the balcony of the Apostolic Palace there.

On Friday, March 1, the Dean of the College of Cardinals, Angelo Sodano, will send a letter to all  Cardinals summoning them to Rome. Since most will already be in Rome, it is possible that the first of the General Congregations of Cardinals may happen on Monday, March 4, but almost certainly sometime next week. At one of those meetings, the date for the Conclave will be set. Also, at one of those meetings, the Cardinals will receive their room assignments in Casa Santa Marta (St. Martha’s House), which will be drawn by lot.

Stayed tuned. There’s probably more coming!

The Concho Padre

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