RELIGION
03/14/2013 10:19 am ET

Benedict In The Background

The pope leads alone.

Benedict XVI's decision to be the first pontiff to step down in 600 years raised a host of questions about his role in the Church. But he made clear as he ended his leadership that there was no doubt who would be in charge, pledging obedience to the future pontiff.

The former pope's coat of arms was removed from a floral display in front of the Vatican's governor's palace and his fisherman's ring, an official part of the pope's regalia that features an image of St. Peter fishing from a boat, as well as the personal seals and stamps he used for official papers were destroyed.

Benedict has literally been kept out of sight. The emeritus pope has only been spotted once since retiring — in a photo snapped by a paparazzo hiding in a tree.

— Victor L. Simpson

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