"Most High, glorious God, cast Your Light into the darkness of my heart, and grant me a right faith, certain hope and perfect charity, sense and understanding, Lord, so that I may know and do Your holy and true command."
- St. Francis of Assisi: Prayer before the Crucifix
In his final days as the leader of the Catholic church, Pope Benedict XVI is focusing on prayer and is taking few audiences, the Vatican spokesperson announced Tuesday.
He is also packing up his belongings and preparing to move to Castel Gandolfo, a small Italian town to the west of Rome, said Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi.
When his resignation takes effect at 8:00 PM Rome time Thursday, said Lombardi, the Swiss Guards will no longer protect the pontiff, as they are charged with guarding only the pope.
At that time, said Lombardi, Benedict's official title will be: "His Holiness Benedict XVI, Roman pontiff emeritus."
Lombardi said the pope will continue to wear a white cassock, but no longer will be seen in red shoes. Instead, the pope has decided to wear a pair of brown shoes given to him on the 2012 papal visit to Mexico.
His fisherman's ring, which contains the pope's formal seal, will also be destroyed.
“It will be broken at a particular moment, when that will happen is up to the college of cardinals," said Basilian Fr. Thomas Rosica, who provided English translation of the press conference.