In brief: Benedict XVI to be called pope emeritus
Vatican City – The Vatican settled the question of what you call a retired pontiff by announcing Tuesday that after he steps down from office later this week, Pope Benedict XVI will bear the title “pope emeritus” or “Roman pontiff emeritus.”
The outgoing pope will also continue to be addressed as “His Holiness” and will keep the name Benedict XVI rather than return to being called Joseph Ratzinger.
He will still be robed in white, a simple cassock with no adornments. But Benedict, an inveterate shoe lover, will swap his red shoes for brown ones that he spotted and liked in Mexico.
The decision on the title and his outfit was made by the pope himself in consultation with other church officials, the Vatican said.
Benedict’s last day as head of the Roman Catholic Church is Thursday. The Vatican said he is spending the final days of his papacy in prayer and reflection, with few meetings on his schedule.
Opposition sitting out Egypt elections
Cairo – Egypt’s main opposition coalition said Tuesday it will boycott upcoming parliamentary elections, a decision likely to push the country into a new round of political turmoil and worsen an already-troubled economy.
The announcement by the liberal, secular National Salvation Front was made in a televised news conference just hours ahead of the start of a “national dialogue” convened by Islamist President Mohammed Morsi to produce recommendations on ensuring the “transparency” and “integrity” of the vote. The NSF said it was also boycotting the dialogue.
The decision to boycott the election, due to begin in April, is a bid by the opposition to undermine the legitimacy of the rule of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, the fundamentalist Islamist group he hails from.
Opponents accuse the Brotherhood of monopolizing power, and the country has been embroiled in months of protests amid public anger that the Brotherhood has failed to resolve the nation’s woes or meet the hopes of the revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak’s authoritarian regime in 2011.