Pope Benedict XVI in 2007
Pope Benedict XVI in 2007

The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI took effect on 28 February 2013 at 20:00 CET, following his announcement of it on 11 February.[1][2][3] It made him the first pope to relinquish the office[note 1] since Gregory XII was forced to resign in 1415[4] to end the Western Schism, and the first pope to voluntarily resign since Celestine V in 1294.[5]

All other popes in the modern era have held the position from election until death.[6] Benedict cited declining health due to old age.[7] The conclave to select his successor began on 12 March 2013[8] and elected Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, who took the name of Francis.

Announcement

Pope Benedict XVI announced his intention to resign in Latin at the Apostolic Palace in the Sala del Concistoro, at an early morning gathering on 11 February 2013—the World Day of the Sick, a Vatican holy day. The gathering was officially to announce the date of the canonisation of 800 Catholic martyrs,[9] Antonio Primaldo and companions, and the Latin American nuns Laura Montoya Upegui and Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala.[10][11] At the ceremony, known as the "Consistory for the canonization of the martyrs of Otranto", he told those present that he had made "a decision of great importance for the life of the church".[2][12] In a statement, he cited his deteriorating strength due to old age and the physical and mental demands of the papacy.[7] He also declared that he would continue to serve the Church "through a life dedicated to prayer".[7]

Two days later, he presided over his final public Mass, Ash Wednesday services that ended with congregants bursting into a "deafening standing ovation that lasted for minutes"[13] while the pontiff departed St. Peter's Basilica.[14] On 17 February 2013, Benedict, speaking in Spanish, requested prayers for himself and the new pope from the crowd in St. Peter's Square.[15]

Post-papacy

According to Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi, Benedict would not have the title of cardinal upon his retirement and would not be eligible to hold any office in the Roman Curia.[16] On 26 February 2013, Father Lombardi stated that the pope's style and title after resignation are His Holiness Benedict XVI, Roman Pontiff Emeritus, or Pope Emeritus.[17][18] In later years, Benedict expressed his desire to be known simply as "Father Benedict" in conversation.[19]

He continues to wear his distinctive white cassock without the mozzetta. Instead of the red papal shoes, he wears a pair of brown shoes that he received during a state visit to Mexico. Cardinal Camerlengo Tarcisio Bertone destroyed the Ring of the Fisherman and the lead seal of Benedict's pontificate. Benedict now wears a regular ecclesiastical ring.[17]

After his resignation, Benedict took up residence in the Papal Palace of Castel Gandolfo. As the Swiss Guard serves as the personal bodyguard to the pope, their service at Castel Gandolfo ended with Benedict's resignation.[17] The Vatican Gendarmerie ordinarily provides security at the Papal summer residence; they became solely responsible for the former pope's personal security.[17] Benedict moved permanently to Vatican City's Mater Ecclesiae on 2 May 2013, a monastery previously used by nuns for stays of up to several years.[20] According to anonymous Vatican officials, his continued presence in Vatican City will assist with the provision of security, prevent his retirement location from becoming a place of pilgrimage, and protect him from potential lawsuits.[21]

Reactions

State

Politicians around the globe reacted to the news. Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard,[22] Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff,[23] Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper,[24] Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel,[25] United Kingdom's Prime Minister David Cameron[26] and United States' President Barack Obama[27] praised Benedict and his pontificate; while Italy's Prime Minister Mario Monti[28] and Philippines' President Benigno Aquino III[29] expressed shock and regret, respectively.

Religious

Catholic

Cardinal Walter Brandmüller revealed that he initially thought the news of the renunciation was a "carnival joke", according to an interview he gave with the Germany daily newspaper, Bild.[30]

Metropolitan Archbishop of Lagos Alfred Adewale Martins said of the resignation:[31]

We do not have this sort of event happening every day. But at the same time, we know that the Code of Canon Law promulgated in 1983 makes provision for the resignation of the pope, if he becomes incapacitated or, as with Benedict XVI, if he believes he is no longer able to effectively carry out his official functions as head of the Roman Catholic Church due to a decline in his physical ability. This is not the first time that a pope would resign. In fact, we have had not less than three who resigned, including Pope Celestine V in 1294 and Pope Gregory XII in 1415. Pope Benedict XVI was not forced into taking that decision. Like he said in his own words, he acted with "full freedom", being conscious of the deep spiritual implication of his action. ...By his decision, the Holy Father has acted gallantly and as such we must commend and respect his decision.

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the archbishop of New York, said that Benedict "brought a listening heart to victims of sexual abuse".[27][32]

One year before the pope's resignation, historian Jon M. Sweeney alluded to the possibility of it in his book The Pope Who Quit.[33]

George W. Rutler, pastor of St. Michael's church in New York City,[34] having the Regensburg lecture in mind, referred to Mark 6:4 and Jeremiah:[35] "If a prophet is not without honor save in his own country, a great prophet is not without honor save in the whole world. ...Of one thing we may be certain: like the bold prophet Jeremiah, the benign prophet Benedict will never say in this world or from the next, 'I told you so.' Reality has said that already by events more than words."

Jewish

A spokesman for Yona Metzger, the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel, stated: "During his period there were the best relations ever between the [Catholic] Church and the chief rabbinate, and we hope that this trend will continue. I think [Benedict] deserves a lot of credit for advancing inter-religious links the world over between Judaism, Christianity and Islam." He also said that Metzger wished Benedict XVI "good health and long days."[36]

Buddhist

Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama and spiritual head of the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism, expressed sadness over the resignation, while noting "his decision must be realistic, for the greater benefit to concern the people."[37]

Other authors

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat expressed that "nothing in his papacy became him like the leaving of it: His stunning 2013 resignation was the kind of revolutionary gesture that the church so badly needed."[38] On Catholic Family News, Roberto de Mattei concluded: "The resignation of Benedict XVI [...] is for me the symbol of the surrender of the Church to the world."[39]

It was reported at the time in La Repubblica that the pope's resignation was linked to a "gay mafia" operating within the Vatican: an underground network of high-ranking homosexual clergy, holding sex parties in Rome and the Vatican, and involved with corruption in the Vatican Bank. The pope's resignation was supposedly prompted by a 300-page dossier on the Vatican leaks scandal.[40][41] In a 2016 book, The Last Conversations, the Pope Emeritus downplayed the "gay mafia" rumour, describing it as a group of four or five people who were seeking to influence Vatican decisions that he had succeeded in breaking up.[42][43]

Final week

Benedict XVI in the popemobile at final Wednesday General Audience in St. Peter's Square on 27 February 2013
Benedict XVI in the popemobile at final Wednesday General Audience in St. Peter's Square on 27 February 2013

Benedict XVI delivered his final Angelus on Sunday, 24 February. He told the gathered crowd, who carried flags and thanked the pope, "Thank you for your affection. [I will take up a life of prayer and meditation] to be able to continue serving the church."[44] The pope appeared for the last time in public during his regular Wednesday audience on 27 February 2013.[45][46] By 16 February, 35,000 people had already registered to attend the audience.[47] On the evening of 27 February there was a candlelight vigil to show support for Pope Benedict XVI at St. Peter's Square.[48] On his final day as pope, Benedict held an audience with the college of Cardinals, and at 16:15 (4:15 pm) local time he boarded a helicopter and flew to Castel Gandolfo. At about 17:30 (5:30 pm), he addressed the masses from the balcony for the last time as pope.[49] After this speech Benedict waited out the final hours of his papacy, which ended at 20:00 CET (8:00 pm) and promptly the see of Rome became vacant.[50]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Formally "renounce", from the Latin "renuntiet" (cf. canon 332 §2, 1983 Code of Canon Law)

References

  1. ^ Cullinane, Susannah (12 February 2013). "Pope Benedict XVI's resignation explained". CNN. Archived from the original on 19 February 2013. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
  2. ^ a b Davies, Lizzy; Hooper, John; Connelly, Kate (11 February 2013). "Pope Benedict XVI resigns due to age and declining health". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 30 October 2013. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
  3. ^ "BBC News – Benedict XVI: 10 things about the Pope's retirement". Bbc.co.uk. 2 May 2013. Archived from the original on 6 August 2013. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  4. ^ Messia, Hada (11 February 2013). "Pope Benedict to resign at the end of the month, Vatican says". CNN. Archived from the original on 19 March 2013. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
  5. ^ de Souza, Raymond J. (12 February 2013). "The Holy Father takes his leave". The National Post. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  6. ^ "Pope Benedict XVI in shock resignation". BBC News. BBC. 11 February 2013. Archived from the original on 28 February 2013. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
  7. ^ a b c "Pope Benedict XVI announces his resignation at end of month". Vatican Radio. 11 February 2013. Archived from the original on 11 February 2013. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
  8. ^ "Conclave to begin Tuesday March 12th". Vatican Radio. 8 March 2013. Archived from the original on 13 February 2013.
  9. ^ Davies, Lizzy (12 May 2013). "Pope Francis completes contentious canonisation of Otranto martyrs". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 6 November 2013. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
  10. ^ "Pope convokes consistory for canonization of three Blessed". The Vatican Today. 4 February 2013. Archived from the original on 7 February 2013. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  11. ^ "Pope will announce on Monday date for canonization for over 800 saints". Rome Reports. 9 February 2013. Archived from the original on 12 February 2013.
  12. ^ Lavanga, Claudio; McClam, Erin; Jamieson, Alastair. "Pope Benedict XVI, citing deteriorating strength, will step aside Feb. 28". NBC News. Archived from the original on 11 February 2013.
  13. ^ Cowell, Alan (13 February 2013). "Pope Ushers in Lent, Making Its Message of Sacrifice Personal This Year". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 5 November 2017.
  14. ^ Ralph, Talia (13 February 2013). "Pope Benedict XVI leads his final mass on Ash Wednesday". GlobalPost. Archived from the original on 1 March 2013.
  15. ^ "Pope Benedict tells cheering crowd to pray 'for me and next pope'". NBC News. Archived from the original on 20 February 2013.
  16. ^ Glatz, Carol; Wooden, Cindy (12 February 2013). "Benedict will be prayerful presence in next papacy, spokesman says". Catholic News Service. Archived from the original on 5 March 2013.
  17. ^ a b c d "Benedict XVI Will Be Pope Emeritus". Vatican Information Service. 26 February 2013. Archived from the original on 9 June 2013.
  18. ^ "Benedict XVI Will Be Pope Emeritus". The Catholic News. 27 February 2013. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  19. ^ The request of a retired pope – simply call me 'Father Benedict', Catholic News Agency, accessed 13 April 2018
  20. ^ "Dopo le dimissioni il Papa si ritirerà presso il monastero Mater Ecclesiae fondato nel '94 per volontà di Wojtyla" (in Italian). Il Messagero. 11 February 2013. Archived from the original on 13 February 2013. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  21. ^ Pullella, Phillip (15 February 2013). "Pope will have security, immunity by remaining in the Vatican". Reuters. Archived from the original on 18 November 2015.
  22. ^ "Pope's resignation historic, says Prime Minister Julia Gillard". news.com.au. Archived from the original on 17 February 2013.
  23. ^ "President Dilma Rousseff says she respects Pope's decision to retire". www.ebc.com.br. Archived from the original on 17 December 2014.
  24. ^ Prime Minister's Office (11 February 2013). "Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI". Prime Minister of Canada's Office. Archived from the original on 20 May 2013. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
  25. ^ Germany and Europe hail retiring Pope Benedict XVI Archived 10 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine, Deutsche Welle, 11 February 2013
  26. ^ "Statement from Prime Minister David Cameron following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI". 10 Downing Street. 11 February 2013. Archived from the original on 15 February 2013. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  27. ^ a b Pope Benedict's 'selfless leadership' praised by US church leaders –President pays tribute to pope's work while senior Catholics say Benedict 'brought a listening heart to victims of sexual abuse' Archived 2 February 2017 at the Wayback Machine, The Guardian, 11 February 2013
  28. ^ Stanglin, Doug (11 February 2013). "World leaders surprised, but respect pope's decision". USA Today. Archived from the original on 15 February 2013. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
  29. ^ gov.ph. "Statement of The Presidential Spokesperson on the Pope's resignation". Gov.ph. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  30. ^ "Emeritus Pope Benedict denies his resignation was a 'carnival joke'". Breaking News. 21 September 2018. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  31. ^ "Lessons on Pope Benedict XVI's Resignation". Ngrguardiannews.com. 24 February 2013. Archived from the original on 20 June 2013. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  32. ^ "Pope Benedict XVI Resigns: President Obama, Italian Prime Minister, Other World and Church Leaders React". Abcnews.go.com. 11 February 2013. Archived from the original on 1 March 2013. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  33. ^ "Pope resigning: Historian Jon M. Sweeney shares the story behind the last pope who quit". Christian Science Monitor. 13 February 2013. ISSN 0882-7729. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
  34. ^ "Biography of Fr. Rutler". New York, NY: St. Michael. Archived from the original on 23 November 2018. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  35. ^ Rutler, George W. (25 August 2014). "Benedict XVI: Pope as Prophet". Crisis Magazine. Archived from the original on 11 June 2017. Retrieved 15 February 2019. Pope Benedict said: "Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. ...God is not pleased by blood—and not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats. ...To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death.?
  36. ^ "As pope steps down, chief rabbi lauds Vatican ties". The Jerusalem Post. Archived from the original on 16 February 2013.
  37. ^ "Dalai Lama saddened by resignation of Pope Benedict XVI". Web India 123. Archived from the original on 26 December 2014.
  38. ^ Douthat, Ross Gregory. To Change the Church: Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism (pp. 16–17). Simon & Schuster. 2018
  39. ^ de Mattei, Roberto (January 2019). "Socci's Thesis Falls Short". Catholic Family News (review of Antonio Socci's book The Secret of Benedict XVI). Translated by Pellegrino, Giuseppe. Niagara Falls, ON. Archived from the original on 6 January 2019. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  40. ^ "Papal resignation linked to inquiry into 'Vatican gay officials', says paper". the Guardian. 22 February 2013.
  41. ^ Abad-Santos, Alexander (22 February 2013). "Did a Secret Vatican Report on Gay Sex and Blackmail Bring Down the Pope?". The Atlantic.
  42. ^ "In memoirs, ex Pope Benedict says Vatican 'gay lobby' tried to wield power: report". 1 July 2016 – via www.reuters.com.
  43. ^ Agency, Catholic News. "Benedict XVI discusses resignation, "gay mafia," Pope Francis in new book-length interview". www.catholicworldreport.com.
  44. ^ "Pope Benedict leads final public prayer, local media buzzes with scandal - CNN.com". Edition.cnn.com. Archived from the original on 30 March 2013. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  45. ^ "Pope Benedict speaks of church's stormy waters in final papal audience - CNN.com". Edition.cnn.com. Archived from the original on 17 December 2014. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  46. ^ "Some FAQ's on the Pope's Resignation". Zenit News Agency. 20 February 2013. Archived from the original on 25 February 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  47. ^ "Thousands flocking to Rome to bid Benedict XVI farewell on Feb. 27th". news.va. 16 February 2013. Archived from the original on 19 February 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  48. ^ "Appello: Luce e silenzio per il Papa (Appeal: Candlelight and Silence for the Pope)" (in Italian). culturacattolica.it. 13 February 2013. Archived from the original on 25 February 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  49. ^ "Text of final greeting on Feb. 28". Vatican.va. 28 February 2013. Archived from the original on 3 July 2013. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  50. ^ Winfield, Nicole; D'Emilio, Frances (28 February 2013). "Now a 'simple pilgrim,' Benedict resigns papacy". Dallas Morning News. Dallas, TX. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 4 March 2013. Retrieved 6 September 2013.