Ichabod explores the Age of Apostasy, predicted in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, with an emphasis on UOJ, Church Growth, and Emergent Church heresies. The antidote to these poisons is trusting the efficacious Word in the Means of Grace. John 16:8. Most readers are WELS, LCMS, ELS, or ELCA. This blog also covers the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, and the mainline denominations.
The honorific title added further confusion to Benedict’s exact status after his historic resignation, muddying the lines between his papacy and that of his successor.
The Vatican had earlier indicated that his most likely title would be Bishop Emeritus of Rome, so as not to give the impression that the Catholic Church has two Popes – a scenario that has led to damaging schisms in past centuries.
The 85-year-old German pontiff will continue to be addressed as “His Holiness” after he abdicates and goes into retirement.
His official papal ring, which shows St Peter fishing, will be destroyed with a hammer according to Vatican tradition.
The task of smashing it is entrusted to the ‘camerlengo’ or chamberlain, in this case Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State.
The custom dates back to the Middle Ages, when it was feared that if the ring fell into the wrong hands, documents could be falsely approved in the Pope’s name.
Benedict will give up wearing the soft red leather shoes he has become fond of and will instead opt for brown loafers given to him by shoemakers during a trip to Mexico last year.
Benedict announced earlier this month that he had decided to resign because of dwindling physical and mental strength, becoming the first pontiff since 1294 to willingly give up the papacy.
The resignation has thrown up difficult questions of etiquette and procedure for the Vatican, with officials initially flummoxed as to what he would be called, what he would wear and where he might live.
After long discussion with Benedict, they have decided that his title after retirement will be either “Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI" or "Roman Pontiff emeritus Benedict XVI".
People will be required to address him as "Your Holiness," and refer to him as "His Holiness".
Benedict’s replacement will be elected in a conclave of 115 cardinals, to be held in the Sistine Chapel.
The date on which the conclave starts will be determined by the College of Cardinals when they meet in the days after the papacy becomes vacant at 8pm local time on Thursday.
The cardinals are expected to meet on March 4 and to set the date for the conclave then.
The Pope spent Tuesday sorting through his papers – he will take personal correspondence with him into retirement, while official documents will be sent to the Vatican Secret Archives and other repositories of the Holy See.
He will hold his final general audience in St Peter’s Square on Wednesday, with crowds of more than 200,000 expected.
On Thursday he will be flown from the Vatican to Castel Gandolfo, the papal summer residence, where he will stay for two months before moving into a former nunnery inside the Vatican walls.