Vatican prepares momentous papal transition

Vatican

The pope will retire to a monastery building inside the Vatican - creating an unprecedented situation for the Catholic Church in which the new pope and his predecessor will live in the same place. Several observers said Benedict wanted to avoid the fate of his predecessor and mentor, John Paul II, who suffered a long and debilitating illness.

The Vatican has said it expects a new pope to be in place in time for Easter, which falls on March 31 this year.

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