As we draw nearer to the official end of the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI, we are getting answers to some of the questions that Catholics around the world have been asking since Benedict announced his retirement more than two weeks ago. At a press conference on February 26, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi answered two of the more pressing questions that had been so far unanswered. The answers below are not word for word from Fr. Lombardi.
Q: What will the Pope be called after his resignation?
A: It has been decided that the retired Pope will have the title of “Pope Emeritus” or “Roman Pontiff Emeritus.” He will keep the name Benedict XVI and will still be referred to as “His Holiness.” Or, if you are an 89-year-old priest-musician named Georg living in Regensburg, Germany, you are allowed to call him “Joe” or “Joey.”
Q: What will he wear in retirement?
A: The Pope Emeritus (it already sounds good, no?) will wear a white cassock, similar to the one he wears now as Pope, but of a simpler design. He will also trade in his famous red kicks for a pair of brown shoes that he was given in Leon, Mexico, a city which Father Lombardi reminds us “is known for beautiful shoes and very comfortable shoes.” Like we didn’t already know that.
A few questions
that were not asked at the press conference, but could have been:
Q: What will Benedict drive after he resigns?
A: Because he will no longer be the Pope, Benedict will no longer have the privilege of being driven around in the Pope-mobile. His Holiness was given a new Pope-mobile last year, so the common-sense solution would be for him, as retired Pope, to use the retired Pope-mobile. However, in a rather awkward development, the old Pope-mobile has apparently disappeared from storage. Meanwhile, Pope Benedict was recently heard humming the jingle, “1-877-Kars-4-Kids” and muttering something like “…white Lamborghini…what can they do, fire me?”
Q: What will the retired Pope do for recreation?
A: Benedict plans to spend most of his time in pray and reflection. However, he has always had a solid appreciation for balancing one’s life and he believes that all human activity, including leisure, can be offered to God. He has mentioned starting a Gregorian punk band with Father Benedict Groeschel called “Ben There Ben That,” although this is unconfirmed.
Q: Will the monastery where Benedict will be living have shuffle board?
A: This is being discussed currently, and surprising as it seems, would require a papal declaration. Shuffle board has been illegal in the Vatican since the fourteenth century. There was an incident with one of the Innocents, which you can find out about when they open the archives in about…never.
Q: Besides active recreation, does the Pope look forward to times of rest?
A: Absolutely. He has already ordered a custom-made rocking chair from an Amish manufacturer in Pennsylvania. As you know, Pennsylvania is known for its beautiful and comfortable rocking chairs. Arrangements are also being made for local children to come and trespass on the monastery grounds after school so that the Pontiff Emeritus can yell at them to get off the lawn.
Q: Will he play bingo?
A: No, and that’s not even funny.
Q: Will he watch Wheel of Fortune?
A: No, and you are excommunicated for asking that question.
Q: Some people go on cruises when they retire. What does Benedict think of –
A: Same for you, excommunicated. Leave now. Next?
Q: The Pope has always been a prolific author. Does he plan to continue writing?
A: Benedict does not have any plans to write another book. However, he does have a passion for writing, and there have been rumors that he may blog from time to time.
Q: Where would he blog?
A: CatholicVote.org. Where else?