Pope Benedict XVI is preparing for his final general audience, the weekly appointment he kept with the faithful and tourists to teach them about the Catholic faith.

About 50,000 tickets have been requested for Pope Benedict's final masterclass in St Peter's Square, Vatican City.

Thousands more people are expected to pack the main boulevard leading to the piazza to watch the audience on giant TV screens.

The Vatican said yesterday that Pope Benedict would in retirement continue to wear the white cassock of the papacy and be called "Emeritus Pope" or "your holiness", raising questions about the peculiar situation soon to confront the church: Having a reigning and a retired {ope living side-by-side.

The Vatican says it foresees no problems and Pope Benedict has said he will pray and be "hidden to the world".

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us