Now this report makes more sense to me than the one from that weird group the International Tribunal on Crimes of Church and State. Pope Benedict, who will return to being Joseph Ratzinger after his resignation is official, will continue to live at the Vatican so he can have that state’s protection against criminal prosecution for his role in covering up the rape of children by Catholic priests.
Pope Benedict’s decision to live in the Vatican after he resigns will provide him with security and privacy. It will also offer legal protection from any attempt to prosecute him in connection with sexual abuse cases around the world, Church sources and legal experts say.
“His continued presence in the Vatican is necessary, otherwise he might be defenseless. He wouldn’t have his immunity, his prerogatives, his security, if he is anywhere else,” said one Vatican official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“It is absolutely necessary” that he stays in the Vatican, said the source, adding that Benedict should have a “dignified existence” in his remaining years.
It doesn’t really make sense for him to resign because of potential criminal prosecution, since remaining the head of a sovereign state would provide him more protection than not being one. Nor does the idea that he resigned to protect the church in the case of such prosecutions make much sense in light of the fact that they are going to continue to make sure he’s immune from such prosecution. So I tend to think that he really did resign for health reasons, with the guarantee of immunity and protection from the Vatican giving him the necessary protection until he dies.