Saturday, February 16, 2013

Questions and Answers about Pope's Resignation

1. What will Pope Benedict XVI be called once he resigns?
This seems as yet uncertain. Some have suggested "Pope Emeritus". However, in 2010, it was revealed that Pope John Paul II said "there is no place in the Church for a Pope Emeritus." This is something he said to the doctor before an operation. Others have suggested "Emeritus Bishop of Rome". I think for the most part this would be non-controversial, since there are currently many retired bishops in the world who use this style.

As for his regnal name "Benedict XVI", some assume, including Fr. Z that he will keep it. I am less certain. This is his papal name and no longer being pope, it would be less fitting. Plus, how would he be introduced? "Emeritus Bishop of Rome Benedict XVI"? Perhaps. But it seems a little contradictory. Pope and Benedict XVI seem to go together, and pope is implied when one says "Benedict XVI". So it would be almost like saying "Emeritus Bishop of Rome Pope Benedict XVI". This seems really confusing. As I don't think a certain decision has yet been made, my guess is that he will go by Joseph Ratzinger, Emeritus Bishop of Rome. No matter how you slice it, it ends up seeming a little odd.

2. Where will Pope Benedict XVI live after his resignation?
Once Benedict resigns, he will first go to his Summer residence in Castel Gondolfo. After some time, he will move to the Mater Ecclesiae monastery within the Vatican, where he will live permanently.

3. What will Pope Benedict XVI do after his resignation?
The former pope will probably stay out of the limelight. There will not be two competing papacies or something. He will probably quietly spend his time in prayer, meditation, reading and other activities. He will possibly write. But I would say he will try to keep a low profile.

4. What will happen to Pope Benedict XVI fisherman's ring after his resignation?
The pope's fisherman's ring will be destroyed shortly after his resignation. Since the ring is a symbol of his papal authority, it is appropriate that it be destroyed once he abdicates the thrown.

5. What color will Pope Benedict XVI wear in retirement after his resignation?
As far as I can tell, this too is still in the air. I believe it seems unlikely he will wear his white robes. It is more likely that he would dress as a cardinal or perhaps bishop.

6. Will Pope Benedict XVI be a priest in a particular diocese after his resignation?
The pope will maintain his priestly faculties and will probably celebrate Mass, perhaps daily. Of course, his Masses will most likely be low-key. He will continue to live in the Archdiocese of Rome and will be under the spiritual leadership of the pope.

7. Why did Pope Benedict XVI decide to retire?
Pope Benedict said his reason for retiring is that due to his advanced age and health concerns, he does not feel up for the task of pope.

8. When exactly will Pope Benedict XVI retire?
Pope Benedict's resignation takes place at 8pm, February 28, 2013.

9. More questions
If you have further questions about Pope Benedict's retirement, please ask them in the comment section. Thanks.


  1. what about his red shoes and what will they do with his white clothes and hat he wears, if he changes them now. will they save them and what about his death, will he be ininstated to a pope

  2. What about his fancy dress?