- (Photo: Reuters/Alessandro Bianchi)
With his resignation nearing, Pope Benedict XVI will soon be given the new title of "Pope Emeritus" and adhere to a newly created set of specific rules outlining the details of his retirement.
The last time a pope resigned from the position of the Bishop of Rome was in the 15th century with Pope Gregory XII. Given the scarcity of previous examples, officials at the Vatican have laid out what the soon-to-be former pontiff will do, where he will live, and even what he will wear.
Benedict XVI will be dubbed "pope emeritus" to reflect his former position. However, he will still be referred to as "His Holiness," a common term used for the pope.
On the issue of names and titles, Benedict XVI will retain his papal name rather than reverting to usage of his birth name, Joseph Ratzinger.
Regarding clothing and apparel, Benedict XVI will continue to wear white garments, but they will have different trim compared to the papal garb worn by the head of the Roman Catholic Church. He will also cease wearing his pair of red loafers, turning them in for a pair of brown ones he received as a gift while on a visit to Mexico in 2012.
Benedict XVI will also be handing over his "Fisherman's Ring," which is a symbol of his authority as pope. Usually the ring is given to Vatican officials upon the death of a pontiff and is destroyed so as to prevent counterfeit papal decrees from being issued.
Don Clemmer, assistant director of media relations with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, wrote in The Washington Post "Guest Voices" section that Benedict XVI is taking the necessary steps to prevent a possible schism.
"A papal resignation also raises the ugly point that the Catholic Church has a painful history when it comes to having more than one living person with a claim on the papacy," wrote Clemmer.
"Setting a modern precedent requires someone who is willing to remove himself completely from the picture for the good of the church's unity. Pope Benedict has already indicated his intention to do this."
As to location, Benedict XVI will remain in Vatican City and spend his time in a facility not far from the place where he oversaw the largest Christian denomination in the world.
According to the BBC, Benedict XVI "will move to another residence inside the Vatican City known as Mater Ecclesiae."
"He says he will spend his time praying for the Church, and he has a collection of 20,000 books, so he may spend his time reading."
Cardinals from across the world will be gathering at Vatican City to decide the next pontiff. There is not fixed time table for when this decision will be reached.