Monday, February 11, 2013

Pope-Emeritus 101

Shortly after Benedict XVI announced his resignation as Roman pontiff, effective 28 February, the following clarification on the future status of the first Pope to retire in six centuries was issued by the lead Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Fr Federico Lombardi:
Pope Benedict XVI has given his resignation freely, in accordance with Canon 332 ยง2 of the Code of Canon Law. 
Pope Benedict XVI will not take part in the Conclave for the election of his successor. 
Pope Benedict XVI will move to the Papal residence in Castel Gandolfo when his resignation shall become effective. 
When renovation work on the monastery of cloistered nuns inside the Vatican is complete, the Holy Father will move there for a period of prayer and reflection.
As previously noted, canon law makes no provision whatsoever for the protocols and prerogatives of a retired Pope, so Benedict's preferences for his post-papacy will be setting an epochal precedent, both for the office and the life of the church it oversees.