Heavenly retirement: Pope Benedict XVI gets free housing, big pension and reserved seat upstairs

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Pope Benedict XVI will receive a monthly pension worth about $3,340 when he abdicates on Feb. 28 and becomes Emeritus Bishop of Rome — a payout that could double if he is named Emeritus Cardinal by his successor.

Italian daily newspaper La Stampa states that while the pope’s pension would be 50 percent less than a retired cardinal, it’s likely the new pope will grant him the honorific title of Emeritus Cardinal, in which case his monthly income would double to about $6,690, The Independent reports.

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The next pope could be selected as soon as next month.

The Catholic News Service said the pope would move out to the papal villa in Castel Gandolfo while remodeling work was completed on the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery, his eventual home, to the west of St. Peter’s Basilica.

The question now is what he’s going to do with the extra dough, since all of his daily needs will be taken care of, from caterers to gardeners.

The pope will take only personal effects and gifts, his piano, his cats and private letters. Everything else will stay.

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