Today Show: Pope Benedict’s Final Hours As Pontiff
Pope Benedict is in his final hours as Pope before he is set to take a short helicopter ride to the Vatican’s summer residence 20 miles south of Rome in the city of Castel Gandolfo, where he will begin his new life as a retired pontiff.
Castel Gandolfo citizens will be the final people to see the Pope as he addresses them from the balcony of the villa before proceeding behind the residence’s large walls.
A curious fact about the city is that it is almost a merging place for science and religion, holding the Vatican’s summer residence and a large telescope used by many astronomers in Italy. Besides a telescope to get used to, the Pope will also see his Swiss guards leave their positions and be replaced by Vatican police.
Today Show: Pope Benedict’s Final Residence In Mater Ecclesiae
He shouldn’t get too comfortable while at Castel Gandolfo though. It will be only months before his final residence at Mater Ecclesiae will finally be renovated. The building, once a Vatican convent, is being renovated to store all of Pope Benedict’s books from his large personal library and his piano. The rest of the items in the Vatican will be passed onto his predecessor. He won’t even be taking the large gold ring he wears, as it is custom for the ring to be destroyed after the Pope has died, or in this case, retired.
Many are questioning whether there could be a power struggle between Pope Benedict and whoever his predecessor may be, because they are both going to be sharing the same personal secretary as well as other Vatican privileges. Vatican spokesperson Greg Burke told the Today Show he didn’t see any kind of power struggle taking place. Why would the Pope have retired if he wanted the power? Burke even mentioned that the Pope has always said he is more of a theologian and better with his books than he ever was in the public eye.
His final day as the Pope will involve meeting with cardinals and addressing the public before he heads off to Castel Gandolfo. And don’t worry about him not making enough for all the renovations going on. He actually gets a small pension but sources say the Vatican will be taking care of all his needs.