Pope Will Keep His Name, But Not His Ring

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Feb. 26 2013 9:33 AM

We Now Know What To Call the Pope When He's No Longer Pope

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Pope Benedict XVI, after delivering his last Angelus Blessing from the window of his private apartment on Feb. 24

Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Pope Benedict will keep the title of "His Holiness" after he officially resigns this week but will be known as "pope emeritus" moving forward, the Vatican told reporters today. Reuters with a few more details on how he will dress during his retirement:

He will wear a "simple white cassock" and his papal ring of office will be destroyed according to Vatican tradition, a spokesman told a briefing. He will lay aside the red "shoes of the fisherman" that have been part of his papal attire and wear brown loafers given to him by shoemakers during a trip to Mexico last year.
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The pope, born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, will also keep the name Benedict, making him officially "pope emeritus Benedict XVI" or "Roman Pontiff emeritus Benedict XVI" in the eyes of the church. The Vatican said the final decisions were made by the pope himself in consultation with church officials. Given no pope has abdicated the papacy in roughly six centuries, there wasn't much in the way of history for the soon-to-be pope emeritus to go on. His formal resignation will take place on Thursday, after which he'll begin his retirement at the Castel Gandolfo before returning to the Vatican.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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