Pope Benedict XVI, the conservative pontiff who upended long-standing tradition by resigning, is bucking expectations again.
Instead of returning to a cardinal’s red or black robes and the title “bishop of Rome emeritus,” as many had speculated, Benedict has decided to keep his white cassock and title “pope” — though with emeritus appended.
He is, however, giving up his signature red shoes in favor of brown loafers.
“Benedict has said he will remain ‘hidden from the world’ in retirement,” Religion News Service reported. “The Vatican has said that he will lead a life of prayer and study.”
After the pope’s resignation becomes effective at 8 p.m. Thursday (noon MST), he will, RNS said, fly off to his “summer residence in Castel Gandolfo outside Rome.”
Then the College of Cardinals — 117 of whom are under 80 and eligible to vote — will gather in the Eternal City and the real work of choosing his successor can begin.
Peggy Fletcher Stack