A most fascinating facet of the abdication of Pope Benedict XVI is hearing stories of the silver hammer, and the destruction of the Papal ring. And the awesome fact that the deliberations and voting by the Cardinals for the new Pope occur in The Sistine Chapel. "At the deathbed of the pope the camerlengo takes a silver hammer and lightly taps on the pope's forehead three times, calling him by his Christian name. When there is no reply, he announces to those present that the pope is dead. The camerlengo also removes the Fisherman's Ring from the Pope's finger. At the first meeting of the Sacred College the ring and papal seals are broken." The camerlengo is the chamberlain of the church, who takes over the administration of the RC church in the interregnum between popes. The expired Pope's staff are immediately shuffled out of office, powerless and out of the loop.
It was only tonight that I put two and two together and realized that this Roman Catholic ritual was [probably] what inspired The Beatles's song "Maxwell's Silver Hammer":