A Few Quick Takes on Holy Father’s Resignation

Quick takes from news reports on the Holy Father’s resignation:

  • Pope Benedict XVI will revert to his old title of Cardinal Josef Ratzinger after his resignation.
  • Cardinal Josef Ratzinger will be able to participate in the conclave to elect the new pope, but Vatican sources says he will not do so.
  • The resignation announcement was a surprise, even to Vatican officials:   “The pope took us by surprise,” said Father Lombardi, who explained that many cardinals were in Rome on Monday for a ceremony at the Vatican and heard the pope’s address.
  •  Pope Benedict XVI has been pope from 2005 to 2013, a total of 8 years.
  • The last pope to resign was Gregory XII in 1415
  • The Vatican says that after his resignation, Pope Benedict will move to a monastery in the Vatican.
  • Pope Benedict turns 86 in April.
  • The pope’s 89-year-old brother, Georg Ratzinger, told a German news agency that the pope has had difficulty walking recently and has considered stepping down for months. “His age is weighing on him,” Georg Ratzinger said. “At this age my brother wants more rest.”

Sources for these facts and news stories about the Holy Father’s resignation can be found here, here, here, and here.

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  • Anna Dawson

    Thanks for this Rebecca. I was wondering what his title would be after he stepped down. I am sorry to see him go, because he has served us well and was the pope of my conversion, but we will, as someone else pointed out on FB, be blessed with two living popes from whom to gain wisdom.

  • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

    I thank Pope Benedict XVI for his heroic service. He really never wanted to be Pope (what sane person would?) He was one of the most brilliant Popes in history, and paid much more attention to selection of bishops than other recent Popes, with the result that our apostolic college, at least in the U.S. but I presume worldwide, is in MUCH better shape than it was 8 years ago.

    It would be good to pray a novena to the Holy Spirit preceding the feast of the Chair of St. Peter (Feb. 22) for the right person to be chosen to be the next Pope. My bet is that one of the following will be the next Pope: Ouellet (Canada), Scola (Italy), Erdo (Hungary), Turkson (Ghana). All would be good choices. There is a drumbeat of support for Cardinal Dolan and Cardinal Burke, but it would shock me to see an American selected. One never knows, though.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Excellent thought Dave. Thanks for suggesting this.
      “It would be good to pray a novena to the Holy Spirit preceding the feast of the Chair of St. Peter (Feb. 22) for the right person to be chosen to be the next Pope.”

    • Anna Dawson

      I think an American pope (like Dolan especially) would go a long way toward resolving the crisis in the States as regards life issues and ordinations. If Cardinal Dolan is already a thorn in our President’s side on the HHS mandate, how much more would he accomplish with a billion Catholics behind him, praying with him? But then perhaps an African pope can put to rest the false notion that the Church doesn’t to anything there but keep secular humanists from ‘helping’ with forced birth control.

      I better sign off before I get on a rant. God bless. We’ll be praying for our Holy Father, for the College, and for our soon-to-be-named Holy Father.

      • http://fpb.livejournal.com/ Fabio P.Barbieri

        Exactly. The reason why every Pope from 1861 (Italian unification) to 1978 was Italian was that the whole Church felt that the worst single danger to threaten the Church was the rise of an anti-clerical government in Italy. In 1878, there was a strong pressure to elect Cardinal Manning of Westminster,who had played a central part in the First Vatican Council, but it was decided that it was absolutely necessary to have an Italian. Now that the main threat to the Church comes from the increasingly brutal and hateful Obama government, especially given the Republicans’ inability to win elections they should have walked, an American would be to the point. Now if the Holy Spirit wished to make me of all people perfectly happy, He would have Charles Chaput elected.

        • Bill S

          “Now that the main threat to the Church comes from the increasingly brutal and hateful Obama government…”

          How is the Obama government brutal, hateful or a threat to the Church?

          • http://fpb.livejournal.com/ Fabio P.Barbieri

            How about, for a start, trying to bankrupt every business ran on Catholic principles with the so-called Mandate, in violation of the First Amendment (principle of free exercise), the Eighth Amendment (no oppressive fines or bails) and the principle that money shall not be extorted from a citizen without vote by Congress (the Mandate is an administrative act, designed in the deep Hell of Ms.Sebelius’ snake-pit of a department)? Not that I could ever convince you that tyranny is tyranny, but wars have been fought for less than this.

  • Daniel VM

    Some information is wrong.

    1- He will not become a cardinal again, unless the new Pope makes him one. He will however remain Bishop. Remember that a “cardinal” is just a title (which he lost when he became Pope), while “bishop” is sacramental.

    2- Even if he could revert to being “cardinal”, he couldn’t participate in a conclave (even if he wanted so) since he is already past the maximum age (max 80 yrs to enter conclave)


    • http://fpb.livejournal.com/ Fabio P.Barbieri

      If he wished to take part in the Conclave, he might also fall foul of a very ancient canon that absolutely forbids a Pope from nominating a successor.

  • http://jessicahof.wordpress.com/ Jessica Hoff

    He is a wonderful man and has been a marvellous Pope. He will be missed. The Holy Spirit will guide the Cardinals aright.

  • Indy

    When I heard the news I immediately said a prayer for the Pope and for Catholics around the world. God bless him for recognizing his need for rest and healing and that the church needs someone stronger physically. I am not Catholic but I love and support my Catholic brothers and sister in Christ. I will continue praying.

  • Bill S

    ” If Cardinal Dolan is already a thorn in our President’s side on the HHS mandate, how much more would he accomplish with a billion Catholics behind him, praying with him?”

    I don’t think Cardinal Dolan becoming Pope would have any impact in regard to the mandate. And I don’t know what percentage of the billion plus Catholics are actually loyal to the Pope especially when it comes to contraception. At some point, if not most or all of the time, even Catholics would like to have sex that does not result in pregnancy.

    • pagansister

      Glad you made it thru the blizzard, Bill S. ! You obviously have power—yeah!

    • Ted Seeber

      Why would anybody want to waste energy on sex if not to have a child? There are much better things to do. If you want to take the level of risk of promiscuous sex, you could always go bungee jumping.

      • Bill S

        Nature has made sex enjoyable so that animals, including humans, would pass on their genes. We are free to control nature and enjoy sex without passing on our genes if we so desire. People who enjoy bungee jumping also enjoy sex and it is not an either/or decision; they can both be enjoyed. I shouldn’t have to feel that I am promoting something immoral by acknowledging that sex brings pleasure and humans should be able to enjoy it for more than just procreation.

      • pagansister

        Ted, would you acknowledge that even married couples (Catholic as well) would like to engage in sexual activity for pleasure without worrying about a pregnancy? Thus reliable birth control. (not NFP, reliable ones). Sex isn’t for joy and just for making babies? I would hope you’re kidding. Perhaps the next Pontiff will think about that—-as actually many Catholic married couples do use other forms of birth control, to insure the size of their families and to just enjoy each other in an intimate way. I’ve known many.

  • pagansister

    May he enjoy his retirement—

  • Ted Seeber

    Right- except for one. He’s too old to participate in the conclave. Only cardinals under the age of 80 have a vote.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      That’s an interesting point, Ted. You’re right. I hadn’t thought of the fact that the Holy Father is over 80 and thus not allowed to participate. I don’t think I can go back to calling him “Cardinal,” btw. He’s the Holy Father to me.