Shortly before 5 p.m. Thursday, Benedict will leave the palace for the last time as pontiff, head to the helipad at the top of the hill in the Vatican gardens and fly to the papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo south of Rome.There, at 8 p.m. sharp, Benedict will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. The Swiss Guards standing at attention will go into the palazzo and shut the doors behind them and go off duty, their service protecting the head of the Catholic Church over — for now.
As I understand it, the guards will change their clothes and take a steam bath in front of the popey guy, as a sort of friendly, masculine send-off. Then, filled with memories of the men's bodies, Benedict will get the papal goosebumps one last time -- and enter his apartment alone. And with that, the popey guy will be no more.Lombardi said the guards would change into civilian clothes and return to the Vatican barracks Thursday night.
It just tears your heart out, doesn't it?