Catholics used to identifying the pope by individual traits may need to accept the idea of the pope as an office holder.
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.
Each day, the Newseum — the D.C.-based interactive museum of news and history — features its top ten front pages from across the U.S. and around the world. On days when major events unfold, like the first papal resignation in 600 years, it’s not uncommon to see a trend among the sheets.
The papers arriving at newsstands and doorsteps Feb. 12 certainly carried a theme, placing Pope Benedict XVI’s departure from his pontiff chair squarely above — and below — the fold.
Parish Diary: The College of the Cardinals has been given a great gift, but there are certain things it should look to make the new pope a great one.
In an emailed news release Monday, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops included a translation of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation announcement, which was made in Latin:
At 6 a.m. yesterday, when National Public Radio reported the news that Pope Benedict XVI would be resigning in a matter of days, my first thought was, "Wow." My second was, "Why?" And my third was, "What qualities do we need in our next pope?"
I took the third to a group of young progressive Catholics, and here are some of their thoughts:
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.