LET US THANK GOD FOR THE REIGN OF POPE BENEDICT XVI AND AT THE SAME TIME PRAY TO THE HOLY SPIRIT TO GIVE TO THE CHURCH ANOTHER POPE SIMILAR TO POPE BENEDICT.
Papal conclave electors and other information
by Edward Peters, JCD
UDG 84. During the vacancy of the Apostolic See, and above all during the time of the election of the Successor of Peter, the Church is united in a very special way with her Pastors and particularly with the Cardinal electors of the Supreme Pontiff, and she asks God to grant her a new Pope as a gift of his goodness and providence. Indeed, following the example of the first Christian community spoken of in the Acts of the Apostles (cf. 1:14), the universal Church, spiritually united with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, should persevere with one heart in prayer; thus the election of the new Pope will not be something unconnected with the People of God and concerning the College of electors alone, but will be in a certain sense an act of the whole Church. I therefore lay down that in all cities and other places, at least the more important ones, as soon as news is received of the vacancy of the Apostolic See . . . humble and persevering prayers are to be offered to the Lord (cf. Mt 21:22; Mk 11:24), that he may enlighten the electors and make them so like-minded in their task that a speedy, harmonious and fruitful election may take place, as the salvation of souls and the good of the whole People of God demand (my emphasis).
The pope’s announcement:
I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonisations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.
I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, 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 recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfil 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, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.
Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.
From the Vatican, 10 February 2013
BENEDICTUS PP XVI
The resignation of Benedict XVI portends no problems for Church governance.
We know exactly when the vacancy in the Apostolic See will occur (2 pm, Eastern time, Thursday, FEB 28) and we know what laws will govern the Church during said vacancy (ap. con. Universi Dominici Gregis). Up until then the pope is fully the pope (c. 331), and after that, he isn’t; most heads of Roman dicasteries will immediately cease functioning in their offices, and canonical clocks will start ticking, culminating in the next papal conclave in mid-March.
What canon law does not, to my knowledge, treat of—and has not experienced for nearly 600 years—is the status of a former pope. I’m sure Vatican protocol experts are working on it, but my ruminations are as follows. These are, per force, first impressions.
Resignation in canon law impacts only the offices actually resigned. Benedict XVI is resigning the distinguishable but inseparable offices of the papacy and the bishopric of Rome, so, effective the evening of February 28, he will hold neither office (nor of necessity the papal Lateran basilica).
Now, prior to his election as pope in 2005, Joseph Ratzinger was a cardinal in the Roman Church and possessed certain rights and duties as a cardinal. I am not aware that he resigned that office (though he vacated his suburbicarian see of Velletri-Segni, which is now held by Cdl Arinze), so, I am thinking that, upon resigning the papacy, Benedict XVI simply resumes his place among the College of Cardinals, having never left it, and of course, would be a regular member of the College of Bishops (c. 336).
If the pope simply resumes his status as cardinal, a number of sticky problems are avoided: for example, he automatically falls under the exclusive jurisdiction of the next pope (c. 1405 § 1, 2º), and he would likewise enjoy faculties for sacramental confession everywhere (c. 967 § 1). Could we really imagine the alternative: a former pope being subjected to the jurisdiction of someone other than the next pope, or his needing faculties from an ordinary to hear confessions? Well, if Benedict is not a cardinal come the evening of Feb 28—well in advance of the arrival of new pope who could take whatever action he wished at that time—both of those scenarios would seem to apply.
Also, upon acceptance of the office of Bishop of Rome, I think the pope became incardinated in that local Church (cc. 265 ff); now, I see no mechanism by which a bishop loses his incardination upon resigning his governing office, so it seems that Cdl. Ratzinger would remain a cleric of the Archdiocese of Rome, being generally bound the rules applying to all such clerics. He would be the emeritus bishop of that local Church (c. 185). An expert in Italian canon law could tell us whether retired prelates there are voting members of the Italian Episcopal Conference (c. 454 § 2), but, aside from his being accountable only to future pope, I think it is clear that Benendict intends a life of quiet prayer and study, so the question is interesting (I think!), but quite moot.
It is customary in some places to refer to former presidents and former ambassadors as “President” or “Ambassador” after they have given up office. I see no problem in referring to “His Holiness, Joseph Ratzinger, Papa Emeritus and Cardinal of the H. R. C.”Dr. Edward Peters | February 11, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Categories: Uncategorized | URL: http://wp.me/p25nov-xs……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
Pope to retire to monastery after resignation
CWN – February 11, 2013
Pope Benedict plans to retire to a former cloistered monastery within the Vatican, the director of the Vatican press office has disclosed.
Father Federico Lombardi told reporters that immediately after his resignation on February 28, the Pope will spend some time at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandalfo, while renovations are done on the monastery. Once settled into his new quarters, Father Lombardi said that the former Pope would like to continue his theological studies.
Father Lombardi admitted that he has been taken by surprise by the Pope’s February 11 announcement, but observed that Pope Benedict’s prior comments on the possibility of a papal resignation were consistent with his ultimate decision to resign. In a book-length interview with journalist Peter Seewald in July 2010, which was later published as Light of the World, the Pope said that a Pontiff should step down if and when he became physically unable to carry out his duties.
“Personally,” Lombardi concluded, “I received the announcement of the Pope’s resignation with great admiration, for its great valour, for the Holy Father’s freedom of spirit and great concern for the responsibility of his ministry.”
In related news:
- Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, the Pontiff’s older brother, said that Benedict XVI had been thinking about resignation for some months. “His age is weighing on him,” Msgr. Ratzinger said.
- Speaking in his capacity as Dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano told the Pontiff that other cardinals had heard his surprise announcement “with a sense of loss and almost disbelief.” But he acknowledged that the Pope’s resignation showed “the great affection that you have always had for God’s Holy Church,” and assured him that the cardinals “are closer than ever to you.” Cardinal Sodano told the Pontiff that “the stars always continue to shine and so will the star of your pontificate always shine among us.”
The challenge Pope Benedict has left for his successor—and for ordinary Catholics
135 51 0 Google +0 Delicious0
By Phil Lawler (bio – articles – send a comment) | February 11, 2013 5:22 PM
Although Pope Benedict caught nearly everyone by surprise when he announced his resignation, we can’t say that he didn’t give us fair warning. In an interview in 2010, the Holy Father explained at some length why a Pope should resign when he no longer had the strength to carry out his duties. He even said at the time: “I also notice that my forces are diminishing.”
For months now, visitors to the Vatican have reported evidence of the Pope’s physical decline. He not only needs help walking because of aching joints, but also has trouble concentrating through a long work session because of flagging energy. After a nap his mind is as sharp as it ever was, but the need for rest is coming more frequently. Apparently the Pope assessed his own condition—humbly, prayerfully, and unsparingly—and concluded that he can no longer do the work.The decision must have been a painful one, because Pope Benedict still has several cherished projects to complete: the liturgical “reform of the reform,” the completion of the Year of Faith, the new encyclical. An ordinary man would no doubt struggle to complete those last few projects, even if he knew that his strength was failing. But Benedict XVI is no ordinary man.
This has been a pontificate of surprises. The most important announcements have come without accompanying fanfare, without premature news leaks. Yet when he has taken action, Benedict XVI has always been decisive. His resignation announcement is no exception.
As my colleague Jeff Mirus points out, a papal resignation is not unprecedented. But nothing of the kind has occurred in this era of instant worldwide communication. From this day forward, for better or worse, every Roman Pontiff will face questions about if, or when, he plans to resign. The Twitter generation will begin asking questions whenever a Pope experiences a health crisis. (Is it possible to serve as a Pope while fighting early-stage cancer or heart disease? With failing eyesight?) More ominously, the same sort of questions will arise when the Pope loses a popularity poll; the political pressures on the papacy are sure to increase.
Count on it: The mass media will remark with surprise that the next Pope, whoever he is, is “conservative” on doctrinal issues, because he upholds perennial Church teachings on matters such as the male priesthood and the dignity of human life. The secular media cannot be made to understand that every plausible candidate for the papacy is “conservative” by their standards, since the papabile are all believing Catholics. An unbelieving world, accustomed to appraising all disagreements in political terms, cannot comprehend that the Bishop of Rome has no personal discretionary authority on questions of doctrine: that he can only teach what the Church teaches. So the pressure on the new Pope will begin from the day of his election; the media will demand radical change, and attack him when he fails to meet their expectations. Pope Benedict has endured this sort of pressure for nearly 8 years now, and never buckled. But the hostility of the mainstream media have undoubtedly taken their toll, as they will on his successors.
In retrospect we can see that Pope Benedict has been preparing for his own departure. If he has been contemplating resignation for months, as his brother reports, it is much easier to understand why he called two consistories within the space of one year. He wanted to ensure an appropriate balance within the College of Cardinals, among the men who will choose his successor. He chose to step down now, no doubt, so that he will not leave that successor burdened with too many tasks that he himself was unable to complete.
So now Pope Benedict has left us, the faithful, with a task of our own. We have a day to swallow the news of his resignation, and another day to digest it. Then Ash Wednesday will arrive, and we must all buckle down to a season of prayer and fasting for the good of the Church, and especially for the strength of Benedict’s successor.