Benedict: I'll Be 'Hidden From the World'

Church unsure what to do with the Vatican's new famous lodger

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 14, 2013 7:05 AM CST

(Newser) – What do you do with an ex-pope? If you happen to know, call Rome, because the Church isn't sure yet. Many fear Benedict will become an implicit rival to the new pope, despite his apparent desire to keep a low profile. He told Roman diocese priests yesterday that he would be "withdrawing into prayer," Reuters reports. "I will always be close to all of you," he said, "even if I remain hidden from the world." The "close to you" bit is somewhat literal; Benedict has announced he'll be living in the Vatican.

That's caused some controversy, the Wall Street Journal reports, but one senior papal adviser says it's "better to have him here than somewhere else, where he could become another center of power." Benedict is likely to exert influence over the next pope by picking a new head of the embattled Vatican Bank, and he'll keep writing as a respected theologian. The Church also hasn't decided what vestments he'll wear, whether he'll give audiences, or even what to address him as—a decision that has "juridical" ramifications, a spokesman said. One thing's for sure: He won't be infallible anymore.

Pope Benedict XVI talks during an audience the with Roman clergy, in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, Feb. 14, 2013.
Pope Benedict XVI talks during an audience the with Roman clergy, in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, Feb. 14, 2013.   (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
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Anything he says or writes will be examined to see if it conflicts with anything the new pope says. It would not be healthy for the church to hear, 'The new pope says this, but Pope Benedict says that.' - Rev. Thomas Reese, senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center

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