There soon will be two pontiffs, each wearing white and each called "pope" living a few yards apart, with the same archbishop serving both.
The Vatican says Pope Benedict XVI has decided that he will be known as "emeritus pope" in his retirement and will be called "Your Holiness" as an honorific and will continue to wear the white cassock associated with the papacy.
There has been good reason why popes haven't retired in centuries past, given the possibility for divided allegiances and even schism. But the Vatican insists that while the situation created by Benedict's retirement is certainly unique, no major conflicts should result.
Critics aren't so sure. Some Vatican-based cardinals say it will make it more difficult for the next pope with Benedict still around.
Adding to the concern is that Benedict's trusted secretary will be serving both pontiffs -- living with Benedict at the monastery being converted for him inside the Vatican while keeping his day job as prefect of the new pope's household. (AP)