Pope praying, packing ahead of move out of Vatican

Tue Feb 26, 2013 12:49pm EST
 
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By Philip Pullella

ROME (Reuters) - Pope Benedict was praying and packing on Tuesday two days before his move out of the Vatican and into retirement where he will assume the title of "pope emeritus" and still be referred to as "your holiness".

The Vatican said Benedict was spending a quiet Tuesday in the apostolic palace with no audiences.

"Today is a day dedicated to prayer and preparation for the events of the next two days," Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said at a daily news briefing.

Lombardi said the pope was sifting through documents to see which will remain in the Vatican and go into the archives of his papacy and deciding which "are of a personal nature and which he will take to his new residence".

Among the documents left for the next pope will be a confidential report by three cardinals into the "Vatileaks" affair last year when Benedict's former butler leaked private papers revealing corruption and in-fighting inside the Vatican.

The new pope will inherit a Church marked by Vatileaks and by child abuse scandals by priests in Europe and the United States, both of which may have weighed on Benedict's decision to decide he was too old and weak to continue the papacy.

The pope has two days left before he takes the historic step of becoming the first pontiff in some six centuries to step down instead of ruling for life.

Given the unique nature of the occasion, Vatican officials have had to find a title for the former pope, decide how he should be addressed and what he should wear.   Continued...

 
Pope Benedict XVI waves as he arrives to lead the Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter's square, at the Vatican in this October 24, 2012 file picture. REUTERS/Files/Giampiero Sposito (VATICAN - Tags: RELIGION)