October 29, 2020

Pope Benedict XVI Resigning


Breaking news from Martha of Ireland:

Breaking news – and yes, shocking news (for those of us who are Catholics): the Pope is resigning.

I’m flabbergasted, so I have nothing helpful to say. The last time this happened was in the year 1295*, so no-one really knows what will happen next or what it will be like if there is a new pope reigning while his predecessor remains alive. Heck, there’s even debate about can a pope resign.

*Never mind that bit about Gregory XII; that was during the Avignon Schism when there were rival popes and anti-popes. Celestine V was an uncontested election.

Here’s the report from Reuters:

(Reuters) – Pope Benedict shocked the world on Monday by saying he no longer had the mental and physical strength to cope with his ministry, in an announcement that left his aides “incredulous” and will make him the first pontiff to step down since the Middle Ages.

The German-born Pope, 85, hailed as a hero by conservative Roman Catholics and viewed with suspicion by liberals, told cardinals in Latin that his strength had deteriorated recently. He will step down on February 28 and the Vatican expects a new Pope to be chosen by the end of March.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said the Pope had not decided to resign because of “difficulties in the papacy” and the move had been a surprise, indicating that even his inner circle was unaware that he was about to quit.

The Pope does not fear schism in the Church after his resignation, the spokesman said.

The Pope’s leadership of 1.2 billion Catholics has been beset by child sexual abuse crises that tarnished the Church, one address in which he upset Muslims and a scandal over the leaking of his private papers by his personal butler.

The pope told the cardinals that in order to govern “…both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.

“For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter.”

He also referred to “today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith.”

The last Pope to resign willingly was Celestine V in 1294 after reigning for only five months, his resignation was known as “the great refusal” and was condemned by the poet Dante in the “Divine Comedy”. Gregory XII reluctantly abdicated in 1415 to end a dispute with a rival claimant to the papacy.

joseph-cardinal-ratzinger“NO OUTSIDE PRESSURE,” JUST ADVANCING AGE

Before he was elected Pope, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was known by such critical epithets as “God’s rottweiler” because of his stern stand on theological issues.

But after several years into his new job Benedict showed that he not only did not bite but barely even barked.

In recent months, the pope has looked increasingly frail in public, sometimes being helped to walk by those around him.

Lombardi ruled out depression or uncertainty as being behind the resignation, saying the move was not due to any specific illness, just advancing age.

The Pope had shown “great courage, determination” aware of the “great problems the church faces today”, he said, adding the timing may have reflected the Pope’s desire to avoid the exhausting rush of Easter engagements.

There was no outside pressure and Benedict took his “personal decision” in the last few months, he added.

Israel’s Chief Rabbi praised Benedict’s inter-faith outreach and wished him good health. The Archbishop of Canterbury, head of the Anglican Church, said he had learned of the Pope’s decision with a heavy heart but complete understanding.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the Pope’s decision must be respected if he feels he is too weak to carry out his duties. British Prime Minister David Cameron said: “He will be missed as a spiritual leader to millions.”

The pontiff would step down from 2 p.m. ET on February 28, leaving the office vacant until a successor was chosen to Benedict who succeeded John Paul, one of history’s most popular pontiffs, the spokesman said.

Elected to the papacy on April 19, 2005 when he was 78 – 20 years older than John Paul was when he was elected – Benedict ruled over a slower-paced, more cerebral and less impulsive Vatican.


But while conservatives cheered him for trying to reaffirm traditional Catholic identity, his critics accused him of turning back the clock on reforms by nearly half a century and hurting dialogue with Muslims, Jews and other Christians.

Under the German’s meek demeanor lay a steely intellect ready to dissect theological works for their dogmatic purity and debate fiercely against dissenters.

After appearing uncomfortable in the limelight at the start, he began feeling at home with his new job and showed that he intended to be Pope in his way.

Despite great reverence for his charismatic, globe-trotting predecessor — whom he put on the fast track to sainthood and whom he beatified in 2011 — aides said he was determined not to change his quiet manner to imitate John Paul’s style.

A quiet, professorial type who relaxed by playing the piano, he managed to show the world the gentle side of the man who was the Vatican’s chief doctrinal enforcer for nearly a quarter of a century.

The first German pope for some 1,000 years and the second non-Italian in a row, he traveled regularly, making about four foreign trips a year, but never managed to draw the oceanic crowds of his predecessor.

The child abuse scandals hounded most of his papacy. He ordered an official inquiry into abuse in Ireland, which led to the resignation of several bishops.


Scandal from a source much closer to home hit in 2012 when the pontiff’s butler, responsible for dressing him and bringing him meals, was found to be the source of leaked documents alleging corruption in the Vatican’s business dealings, causing an international furor.

He confronted his own country’s past when he visited the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz.

Calling himself “a son of Germany”, he prayed and asked why God was silent when 1.5 million victims, most of them Jews, died there during World War Two.

Ratzinger served in the Hitler Youth during World War Two when membership was compulsory. He was never a member of the Nazi party and his family opposed Adolf Hitler’s regime.

But his trip to Germany also prompted the first major crisis of his pontificate. In a university lecture he quoted a 14th century Byzantine emperor as saying Islam had only brought evil to the world and that it was spread by the sword.

After protests that included attacks on churches in the Middle East and the killing of a nun in Somalia, the Pope later said he regretted any misunderstanding the speech caused.

In a move that was widely seen as conciliatory, in late 2006 he made a historic trip to predominantly Muslim Turkey and prayed in Istanbul’s Blue Mosque with a Turkish Mufti.

But months later, former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami met the Pope and said wounds between Christians and Muslims were still “very deep” as a result of the Regensburg speech.

(Writing by Peter Millership; editing by Janet McBride and Ralph Boulton)


  1. From Eric W

    Seems like he showed wisdom and humility in resigning. Let someone with the necessary mental and physical fortitude be the CEO, not someone who would with each passing day be rapidly less and less capable of heading the organization.

  2. From Michael

    It’s easy to speculate that he made this decision with JPII’s decline in mind.

  3. From Eric W

    Looks like we’ll live to see the sack of Rome: http://www.examiner.com/article/catholic-prophecy-the-final-pope-is-here

    • So was Saint Malachy Mayan by chance?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Expect “Left Behind With Rosaries” for a while — St Malachi’s Prophecy, Piux XII’s vision, Three Days of Darkness, packing around Blessed Wax Candles & grapes soaking in Holy Water, etc. Just when the RCC was a sort-of stability amid all the “Ye Ende Is Nighye”.

      To celebrate the coming Bad Craziness, here’s Line Code, Palette Swap, and Emerald May in “The End is Neigh!!!”

    • Very intriguing.

    • According to one pious legend, St. Patrick obtained the benefit(?) from God that, seven years before the end of the world, Ireland would sink beneath the waves (in order to be spared the fiery hail. fall of the star Wormwood, earthquakes, wars, pestilences, famines and all the other good bits in Revelation).

      Since I live beside the sea, I will be keeping a nervous eye out and will let you all know in good time if we start sliding into the Atlantic 🙂

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        This morning (Los Angeles time), I emailed Martha asking her whether Ireland was still above water.

        We Will Know by This Afternoon (when I get home from work and check my email…)

      • Randy Thompson says

        Was this mentioned in the Left Behind books?
        Just curious.

        • Don’t believe so. That was purely Protestant end of world nonsense. This is Romish popery end of the world nonsense. 😛

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Don’t forget the Seventh Day Adventists and their unique take on EOTW choreography.

          • As HUG implies, this certainly is going to be interpreted by some Seventh Day Adventists as a sure sign of the soon(ish) end of the world due to the central role the RCC plays in Adventist eschatology. You should have seen how the wide coverage that his election as Pope received by the media was interpreted to show that the world was basically worshipping the beast of Revelation.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            And don’t forget The National Sunday Law — the SDA’s version of the Mark of the Beast. It’s when the US Government passes a Federal law forcing all churches to worship on Sunday instead of Saturday/Sabbath. (Saturday church being a major part of the SDA tribal identity.) I got a quarter-inch paperback all about it shoved under my door a couple years ago.

  4. I’m left with my mouth hanging open. Does Benedict want to retire into the Vatican archives, as he originally asked Pope John Paul for permission to do?

    Is there something we don’t know about the activities of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith? (In regard, I would suppose, do the sex scandal?)

    If anyone knowing the super-secret Catholic handshake wants to spill the beans, inquiring minds want to know!

    • Sorry, nothing that exciting. He’s an octogenarian who doesn’t think he’s up to it anymore. He remembers the long, slow decline of JPII and maybe doesn’t want to have to go through something similar as Pope. And from what I’ve read, he’s going to go back to Germany to retire.

      • I know the official version of the story. I want the secret handshake version. 😉

        • All rightie then! He’s stepping aside to make way for Pope Petrus Romanus, who will be the last pope, a tool of Satan, and will usher in Armageddon! It has been foretold by the prophecy of St Malachy, and the Third Secret of Fatima (the real Third Secret–not the one the Vatican released)!!

          Better? 🙂

        • For that, you have to read Robert Ludlum’s “The Road to Gandalfo”.

        • Danielle, expect the Opus Dei secret albino assassins to be knocking on your door any moment now (this is, of course, a distraction to divert your attention as the crack Jesuit Shaolin troops kick in the back door and the Swiss Guard smuggle you out of the country to the dungeons of the Inquisition).

          You know too much already. Further questions cannot be permitted as they would arouse suspicions at this delicate phase of the Secret Global Conspiracy. The pope’s resignation has nothing to do with the Vatican Space Programme or any rumours of secret bases on the Moon where a prayer-powered mecha made from the abandoned celestial armor of a forty-four story high archangel hidden in the depth of the Great River Euphrates is stored, ready to strike once the signal is given. Go about your normal business, citizens.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            No, those are Opus Dei albino MONK assassins with self-whip-scarred backs…

            And Secret Bases on the Moon? That’s so Day-before-Yesterday. Nowadays they’re Secret Underground Bases in The Hollow Earth (under Dulce, NM and Denver International Airport) staffed by Alien Greys and Reptoids (who presumably displaced the Deros).

          • OK, you just made my anime-loving, sci-reading, nerdy heart swell.

            What could be better than a “Vatican Space Programme”? Well, space Jesuits, of course.

            And what could be better than that? Space Jesuits in Mechs.

            If the next Pope is a Celestine we’ll have to wonder.

          • Danielle,
            What could be better than a “Vatican Space Programme” you ask. Well, if you haven’t yet, you have to read Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow and The Children of God to hear all about it!

          • I’ve tried to convince my husband that we need a boat named “Sparrow.” (Alas, there are too many sisterships with the name. But a lady can try.)

            Off topic, but … I finally read (and just finished) Dan Simmons’ “Hyperion,” which is sort of like the Canterbury Tales in space. If you haven’t read it, the Priest’s Tale and the Scholar’s Tale are intriguing.

          • thanks for the suggestion, Danielle!

    • Maybe he’s abdicating because he met Mrs. Simson?


  5. At the risk of sounding like a cynic, look for the end-time prophecy machine to start churning overtime. It’s already starting.

  6. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    This isn’t so much “resignation” as “going into retirement”.

    And it’ll set precedent; we haven’t had a retired Pope since (as CM pointed out) 1295.

    • George Weigel said this morning that “resignation” is the wrong word, since the Pope has no one to resign to…rather, we should be referring to it as an “abdication.”

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Since when have the American media ever gotten things right?

      • From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdication


        The word abdication derives from the Latin abdicatio. meaning to disown or renounce (from ab, away from, and dicare, to declare, to proclaim as not belonging to one). In its broadest sense abdication is the act of renouncing and resigning from any formal office, but especially from the supreme office of state. In Roman law the term was also applied to the disowning of a family member, such as the disinheriting of a son. Today the term commonly applies to monarchs, or to those who have been formally crowned. An elected or appointed official is said to resign rather than abdicate. (Napoleon was abdicated from his throne.)

        If Wikipedia is correct, it appears, contra Weigel, that “resign” is indeed correct.

        • Hmm, point taken, but at the same time, the terminology used to describe things papal is usually more, well, royal… for instance, “Benedict” is his “regnal” name, he occupies the “throne of St. Peter”… Heck, I think the practice of using the “royal We” in papal documents just ended with John Paul II. So I still lean towards agreeing with Weigel on this one….

          • He was elected to the office/chair/seat/whatever. That’s why his stepping down would be a resignation and not an abdication, no matter how “regal” the role of Pope might be viewed.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            So it’s “resignation” if elected, and “abdication” if a monarch.

            Since the Papacy is classed as “an elected monarchy”, which way should it go? Or are both valid?

          • Let’s just go ahead and call it an abdignation.

          • Michael writes, “Let’s just go ahead and call it an abdignation.”

            Good word, Michael!

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abdignation…”

        • Marcus Johnson says

          EricW, do you really want to base your argument on the premise that Wikipedia is correct? That’s some thin ice you’re walking on.

          • Catholics can call it abdication if they wish. We’ll call it resignation.

            There. Fixed.

          • Ha! I’ve been vindicated (see post below):

            Ryan M. says:
            February 11, 2013 at 11:43 am

            Here’s a quote from an interview that Benedict gave in 2010:

            “If a Pope clearly recognizes that he is no longer physically, psychologically, and spiritually capable of handling the duties of his office, then he has the right and, under some circumstances, also an obligation to resign.” -Benedict XVI

            See that? Benedict says “resign”!

            Wikipedia rules!!

          • Yeah, Eric W., except that I doubt he gave the original quote in English… doesn’t solve our problem, just means that the translator thought the proper word was “resign” 🙂

      • Isaac (or possibly Obed) says

        I vaguely remember hearing a radio discussion many months ago about that, Probably with a guest theologian on EWTN. They said something similar about how he has no one to whom he can resign.

      • Perhaps “stepping down” would be a more appropriate term.

  7. Benedict had alluded to this possibility in an interview he gave in 2010 (and if I remember correctly, had talked about the issue of papal longevity and declining mental health even when he was a Cardinal…). But I think a lot of people are caught off guard by the timing…

  8. Isaac (or possibly Obed) says

    I’m gonna really miss B16. I like his old-school sensibilities while being savvy enough to continue JP2’s lead on using tech for the “new evangelization.”

  9. Good for him.

    There comes a time, for most of us, when we might want to step down and let someone take the reins…for whatever reason.

  10. Isaac (or possibly Obed) says

    As of 2004, over 40% of the worlds Catholics were in Latin America. Think there’s any chance of a Latino Pope? Or maybe an African Pope, as they seem to be the fastest growing demographic, if the 2025 projections are accurate?

  11. Well this is a surprise. What about JPII’s prophetic undertaking to show the world that the elderly still had a mission and that the Almighty could be served by the frail?

    And like what happens to B16 next? I mean, he can’t exactly countermand anything decided by his successor. Even a facial reaction could get on the news. What’s he gonna do go hang out in a hermitage or something?

    I do find it kind of funny that he basically gave them the same 2 week notice I would give if I were leaving a position.

    Well, I wish him well. May his scholarly heart find contentment doing something useful.

    • I read that he was contemplating retiring to Bavaria before he was elected to the papacy. Makes sense that he would want to do that now. I can’t imagine that he would spend a lot of time hanging around the Vatican, looking over the new pope’s shoulder. Awkwarrrrd.

      • Isaac (or possibly Obed) says

        I’m thinking retiring to a life of study, writing, and piano practice, while celebrating Mass occasionally at a little Bavarian chapel

      • According to Lombardi, Vatican spokesperson to the NYT, his retirement home will be his vac spot in Castelgandolfo in Italy and later a monastery in Vatican City.

    • Regarding the two week notice, I wonder if that was somewhat calculated on his part, as this won’t give the Cardinals much time to do the usual politicking that takes place by having them meet in March?

      • That Other Jean says

        It also lets him leave the job before the Easter rush, which has to be terribly taxing on a man who is 85 years old and the center of so much of the activity in the Vatican. I hope he gets to spend his remaining years relaxing with his books and playing the piano. I haven’t thought much of his policies, but I do wish him well.

  12. What about Obama?

    Oh…that’s right…he’s busy.

    • If I recall correctly, the only requirement to be Pope is baptism. I don’t even think holy orders are technically required, it’s more customary than anything.

      However, choosing a person who is an adherent of a Reformation form of Christianity, would be a little unorthodox.

    • At the time of John Paul II’s election, a friend of mine was in a little country store in Missouri. He overheard two women discussing the election:

      First woman: Did you here they got a new pope? Looks like he’s one of them Catholic guys in the funny hats.
      Second woman: How come it’s always a Catholic? You’d think they’d let a Baptist or something have a turn every now and again.

      • Hah! Or a Jew, I mean come on, we do scholarship, too!

        I say choose the one of the Patriarchs and heal the great schism.

    • Classic.

  13. Here’s a quote from an interview that Benedict gave in 2010:

    “If a Pope clearly recognizes that he is no longer physically, psychologically, and spiritually capable of handling the duties of his office, then he has the right and, under some circumstances, also an obligation to resign.” -Benedict XVI

    And this was on Scott Hahn’s Facebook page just a few minutes ago:

    “Back on April 29, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI did something rather striking, but which went largely unnoticed.

    He stopped off in Aquila, Italy, and visited the tomb of an obscure medieval Pope named St. Celestine V (1215-1296). After a brief prayer, he left his pallium, the symbol of his own episcopal authority as Bishop of Rome, on top of Celestine’s tomb!

    Fifteen months later, on July 4, 2010, Benedict went out of his way again, this time to visit and pray in the cathedral of Sulmona, near Rome, before the relics of this same saint, Celestine V.

    Few people, however, noticed at the time.

    Only now, we may be gaining a better understanding of what it meant. These actions were probably more than pious acts. More likely, they were profound and symbolic gestures of a very personal nature, which conveyed a message that a Pope can hardly deliver any other way.

    In the year 1294, this man (Fr. Pietro Angelerio), known by all as a devout and holy priest, was elected Pope, somewhat against his will, shortly before his 80th birthday (Ratzinger was 78 when he was elected Pope in 2005). Just five months later, after issuing a formal decree allowing popes to resign (or abdicate, like other rulers), Pope Celestine V exercised that right. And now Pope Benedict XVI has chosen to follow in the footsteps of this venerable model.”

  14. Why any of this matters to anyone is beyond me. He’s just an old man, nothing more, nothing less, and everybody knows it.
    Thankfully, Jesus is NEVER gonna resign.

    • He is also a world and religious leader, not to mention he occupies an office of immense historical significance. How anybody could see this as irrelevant is beyond me. :O

      • World leader? I mean, sure Vatican City is a nation, but I don’t know that I would describe him as a world leader. More of a religious leader, like the Dalai Lama. And yes, his office is historical, but so is Queen Liz II’s office. Mostly she gets feel good news coverage.

        And he doesn’t have the cachet of JPII, I don’t know why, but he just hasn’t ever filled those shoes.

        • Dan Crawford says

          I think he has, and rather admirably. His three books on Jesus, his encyclicals, his “apostolic exhortations” are anything but irrelevant.

        • Cermak, head figures of major world religions are world leaders because they wield tremendous influence. The Dalai Lama is considered one too, just maybe not to the extent of those who hold military keys. I know many people don’t consider religious news to be of much significance, especially in a free country where it doesn’t seem to affect us much. But when your adherents number in the hundreds of millions, I think that puts you well beyond the influence of a pop-culture celebrity. Dan, I’ve heard great things about his books and I’ve got a few on my reading cue. But I believe the bulk of his writing career was pre-papacy. I’m not sure he was Pope long enough to have that big an impact.

          But I do know this: They couldn’t change Popes at a better time. I’m headed to Italy right after Easter, and from what I hear, the party will be just getting started.

          • I guess for me, I tend to think of world leaders as people who are able to affect their world. I haven’t seen B16 affect this world much. When the Catholic leadership can’t even win a political fight in the Philippines, that says something about the power that the Catholic church once wielded and no longer does in most cases. The Dalai Lama may be a media darling, but he can’t do a darned thing about the Chinese occupying his land. He doesn’t even seem to have a lot of control over other monks.

            JPII was able to affect his world. He pretty much crushed liberation theology and got the Church in the developing world away from Marxism, on the other hand his critique of US style capitalism and consumerism got him nowhere. B16 has continued that critique as well as arguing against SSM, abortion, et al with no effect in Europe or N.A. In fact, to me it looks like the very same worldview arguments that were existent at the beginning of B16’s reign are still there at the end. Unlike under JPII, nothing has been resolved, perhaps due to the shortened tenure of B16 compared to JPII.

            Andrew Greeley, S.J. had a theory that in the modern world, religious authority had been reduced to the ability to charm. I just think JPII had more charm than B16.

          • Good points. It would seem like B16 may not himself been a very influential position holder, but what I meant was that generally the office of the papacy is a position of global leadership. He may not have made a sizable dent, but he really wasn’t pope that long either.

            Many are anticipating a black pope, but I really think us latinos have a shot.

    • Marcus Johnson says

      Just because we are not Catholic, doesn’t mean that the Pope hasn’t had significant influence our world politics and social policy. Many Americans might choose to live in isolation and not recognize the impact of that influence, but make no mistake, that influence is there, and it’s pretty strong.

    • Hey, Matt…….Paul and Peter were just old men, and bound to die sooner or later….no big deal, right?

      So, how come you still read their letters???

      No one is asking you to convert, but a teensy-tiny bit of courtesy and respect would go a long way amongst those of us who ALL say we follow Jesus Christ.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Absolute TRUTH and Utter Righteousness has no need of courtesy and respect.

        • Thanks, HUG. I know that I (and we) have planks in our eyes like everyone , but sometimes *SOME* of the newer expressions of Christ-following get a bit smug, like fifteen year olds that know that their parents are failures, hypocrites, and stupid…..as seen from the mind of an adolescent. Notice the “some”, not “all” or “most”……

  15. It doesn’t shock me. He basically is saying he is old and tired and that someone else should be Pope now. I think he is wise to do this. When he was selected to be the Pope, he became Pope reluctantly from what I read anyway. He really wanted to retire and spend time with his siblings and nieces/nephews. I felt sad for him. I hope he will get a few good years to spend with his family.

    I think Tom C here at 11:04 am has the best words for what the Pope is doing: “stepping down.”

  16. Randy Thompson says

    I respect Benedict for his humility, honesty and sense of his own limitations.

    Even though a pope hasn’t abdicated in 600 years, I don’t think this is a big deal. It strikes me as a way for the Roman church to move forward, and God bless them and be with them!

    It would be highly newsworthy, though, if, upon stepping down, the pope moves to Colorado Springs. . .

    • Randy said, “It would be highly newsworthy, though, if, upon stepping down, the pope moves to Colorado Springs. . .”

      Yes, and think how highly newsworthy it would be if a Pope wanted to step down because he wanted to marry! Or if he wanted to step down to devote more time to a special hobby, like model trains. 😉

      • Although the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V wasn’t a pope, he too abdicated when he got old and sick, and it’s said that he enjoyed the making of mechanical toys.

    • I am not Catholic but I am surprised at the joking and jesting in the responses today. What struck me about the Pope’s announcement was the seriousness and the depth of it. To say it takes prayer and suffering to fulfill the duties of the Pope and to say that he wishes to dedicate the remainder of his life to “dedicated prayer” speaks of humility to me. I cannot imagine any of the “limelight” Protestant pastors speaking this way if they even had the sense to give up being in the limelight. Most of them hang on instead of admitting to their limitations and graciously stepping down. Usually if they “step down” or “fall down” they just gather another bunch of groupies and start yet another ministry, TV or otherwise. I think the man is to be commended for being willing to admit that he can no longer bear the heavy responsibility of the position.

  17. I wish some aging U.S. Senators would follow Pope Benedict’s lead and resign…

  18. Does he get to keep the Pope mobile as part of his retirement package?

    • I’m wondering if they’ll break his ring as they do the dead ones to symbolize that even in these circumstances there is only one Pope at a time.

      Also, I’m guessing he has to give the hat, shoes and staff back. Or maybe not, depends, I would guess, on whether he’ll still be a Bishop. Also, I’m wondering if he gets to sit in the Conclave. He’s still a Cardinal I think?

      • Good questions. It will be interesting to see what happens.

        Perhaps they should pick a younger Pope that will be around for awhile. Maybe a “hipper” Pope to appeal to younger generations. 😉

      • From what I’ve read (and I’ve read too many links about this today to even have a prayer of giving you a citation on this), they will break his ring. And he won’t be involved in the conclave–cardinals over the age of 80 do not vote on the pope.

      • Oh, he’ll always be a bishop – that is a separate consecration. He won’t be the Bishop of Rome anymore, but he will still be a bishop.

        He won’t be voting in the conclave – and yeah, it would be weird to have him voting for his successor and could be seen as undue influence, I suppose. There will be enough speculation as to who he might prefer to follow him as it is.

  19. Can we expect the Catholic change with the next Pope? I don’t really think so. Cardinal Marc Ouellet, formerly the archbishop of Quebec City, has the best odds of replacing Pope Benedict XVI, but he is an extremely conservative man who will definitely not want the Catholic church to change. He is expected to be a carbon copy Pope Benedict XVI.

    And no, I don’t want to hear anything about the Malachian prophecy and the next “end of world”. I have heard enough people talking about the previous “end of the world” that was scheduled for December 2012 and I need a break lol.

    • I saw that bookmakers were laying odds on a cardinal from Ghana . . .

      • Conspiracy Theory: The first name of the Cardinal from Ghana is Peter. According to St. Malichi’s “prophecies” about the Popes, Benedict (of the Olives) was the second to the last Pope and the last Pope will be called Peter the Roman.

  20. What this post does show us is that aside from homosexuality and the evangelical collaspe this is the most responded to article on this blog. My hat is off to the Pope for recognizing his human limitations.

  21. Right. And thank goodness he doesn’t have a son named Franklin.

    • 🙂 In fact, thank goodness he doesn’t have a son at all. Any Protestants willing to give a reluctant nod to the wisdom of celibacy in this case?

  22. So, following the example in yesterday’s post, will we now be seeing another video entitled ‘Vicarage Available’?

  23. Marcus Johnson says

    So, when’s this job posting going up for the new Pope? I’m hitting the job market in a couple of months, and my resume is up-to-date.

    Granted, I’m a born again-and-raised Protestant, but I’m willing to travel, and I look good in embroidered robes.

      • OK, some joker actually posted one. It’s under the above link under non-profits.

        Vicar of Christ (Vatican City)
        Do you aspire to have supreme and universal primacy, both of honour and of jurisdiction, over the Earth and all creation? Have you ever suspected that you might be just the right person to wield all of God’s power in the physical and spiritual world? Are you confident, outgoing, and committed? Do you think you have the moxie to run one of the world’s oldest and largest hierarchical organizations with a loving, yet iron, grip?

        Perhaps you have what it takes to be the Vicar of Christ on Earth. Perhaps you are the next Pope.

        Desired qualifications:
        – infallibility
        – decent knowledge of the Scripture, and the vast/questionable commentary that surrounds it
        – must know a least a little Latin, + prbly txt msg lingo too
        – blogging skills
        – PDF, Microsoft Word
        – this weird sort of half smile, kind of like this placid look, not exactly a smile but can be a little menacing if you want it to be
        – warm hands
        – must look good in 14th century bespoke clothing
        – must be ready for the Rapture, and also willing to wait for it indefinitely (more likely the case, so far)
        – warm hands

        We’re not taking applications. In fact, we already know who you are. Good luck, we’ll be in touch.

        Location: Vatican City
        Compensation: all of God’s awesome power on Earth
        Telecommuting is ok.
        This is at a non-profit organization.
        Principals only. Recruiters, please don’t contact this job poster.
        Please, no phone calls about this job!
        Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.

        Posting ID: 3609572776

        Posted: 2013-02-11, 5:40PM CET

        email to a friend

  24. Shame. I was hoping his reign would not end with the headline “Pope resigns” but “Pope found guilty in the Hague”

  25. “Do not call conspiracy everything that these people call conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread,” – Isaiah 8:12-13.

  26. Wake me when Mark Driscoll resigns.

  27. MariaTheresa says

    An Italian film-maker, Nanni Moretti, made a fascinating movie called “Habemus Papam” (“We have a Pope”) about a (fictional) pope who is elected, and then refuses to be Pope. First he locks himself in his room and then he runs away. There’s a psychiatrist character who is brought in to help him, and I initially assumed that I could see where things were going (he’d talk to the pope, they’d discuss his life story and his fears, and everything would end happily). But I was wrong. It turned out to be a story about human weakness and about how we don’t always overcome our fears and shortcomings and triumph in the end. Sometimes we just say “I can’t” and then keep saying it until other people believe it.

    So, here’s another vote saying good for Benedict for admitting that he just can’t continue like this anymore and that he doesn’t have the strength he needs. On behalf of everyone who’s ever had to put down a burden too heavy to bear: thank you.

  28. All this sturm und drang about a Pope resigning, and nary a whisper when my beloved Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, resigned at the end of last year after a brief and tumultuous time in office. Is there no justice?

    • There’s something we can both agree on. I also like Dr. Williams. The Episcopal church was my last station in Christianity (I was a Catholic for a few decades before that.)

    • That Other Jean says

      Perhaps there was no drama about the resignation of the Archbishop of Canterbury because, for the last hundred years or so, it has become customary for Archbishops of Canterbury to resign when they feel they’re no longer up to the job. Since 1903, according to Wikipedia, only one, William Temple, has died in office. The rest have resigned.

    • We all saw that coming, Robert. Probably should have commented on it, though.

      • I’m just having a little fun being petulant, Chap. The Anglican Communion is small potatoes compared with the Holy Roman Catholic Church; it wasn’t even mentioned once in “The Brothers Karamazov” or “Moby Dick.”

    • Robert, I’ve always thought that Benedict and Rowan had a very warm relationship; they seem to get on well, and Rowan was often invited to the Vatican for events.

      It’ll be interesting now that they’re both retired to see if there will be more communication between them. I think Benedict would love to talk about theology and other matters of scholarship with Rowan, whom everyone admits (even if they think he didn’t do a great job as the head of the Anglican Communion – and that’s even worse than being pope, it’s like herding cats!) is indeed a scholar and speculative thinker.

  29. Here is my “vote” for the next Pope. Cardinal Tagel from the Philipines–http://www.catholictv.com/The-Word-Exposed.aspx

    He’s a Cardinal Archbishop who dresses like an ordinary guy, and who speaks very profoundly about the gospel and humility.

  30. Speaking of Monty Python (and this from a Catholic website and posted by a Catholic, lest anyone get their knickers in a twist…)

    A picture of the guys dressed in red robes, captioned…


  31. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Ever since the Pope made the announcement, local morning drive-time radio has been covering the story with R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion” as background music.