John Allen in Rome: It's the question everyone is asking: Is the pope really just old and tired, or is there more to the story?
Still reeling from Monday's announcement that Pope Benedict XVI will become the first pope in 600 years to resign, the Vatican is attempting to return to normal, but many questions about the future remain unanswered.
"I don't know" was the most common response from the Vatican's top spokesman, Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, at a press conference Tuesday as he was peppered with questions about everything from what Benedict will be called in retirement, to whether he will still be a cardinal, to who will live with him in his retirement inside a Vatican convent.
John Allen in Rome: There's reason to believe the College of the Cardinals will go in a different direction when they gather to elect a new pope.
U.S. church leaders said they were surprised by the news of the pope's retirement but admired the pontiff's courage for making the decision.
Analysis: Pope Benedict will no longer be pope starting Feb. 28, but there are a few things he can do before then to avoid becoming a lame-duck pope.
The Vatican monastery where Pope Benedict XVI intends to live began its life as the Vatican gardener's house, but was established as a cloistered convent by Blessed John Paul II in 1994.
When Pope Benedict, 85, announced Monday that his age and declining energies prompted his decision to resign effective Feb. 28, the Vatican said he would move out to the papal villa in Castel Gandolfo while remodeling work was completed on the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican Gardens.
John Allen in Rome: The Vatican spokesperson answered questions about Benedict's resignation this morning -- but he certainly didn't have all the answers.
Regulated by ancient traditions and recent rules, the period between popes -- known by the Latin term "interregnum" -- will begin exactly at 8 p.m. Rome time Feb. 28.
From the moment he was elected pope at the age of 78 in 2005, Pope Benedict XVI has kept a schedule that appeared light compared to that of Blessed John Paul II, but busy for a man who had wanted to retire to study, write and pray when he turned 75.
Announcing Monday that he would resign at the end of the month, Pope Benedict said, "I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry."
John Allen in Rome: Benedict's decision to resign has both won wide praise and raised a whole rafter of questions.