Home Tags Posts tagged with "joseph ratzinger"

joseph ratzinger


Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation today is forcing the Vatican to consider some unusual questions.

Here are 10 answers:

1. Name and title. He will be known as Pope emeritus, or Roman pontiff emeritus, the Vatican announced on Tuesday. He will also continue to be known by his papal title of Benedict XVI, rather than reverting to Joseph Ratzinger, and he will continue to be addressed as “Your Holiness” Benedict XVI – in the same way, for example, as US presidents continue to be referred to as “president” after leaving office. “Emeritus” is a Latin word meaning “retired”, from the verb “emereri” – to earn one’s discharge by service.

2. New home. Benedict XVI will leave the Vatican by helicopter before he resigns at 20:00 on Thursday, but he will return in about three months to a new residence – a former convent known as Mater Ecclesiae – in the south-west corner of Vatican City. Reports suggest Vatican gardeners will continue to cultivate a 500 sq m organic fruit and vegetable garden there – the Pope is said to enjoy marmalade made from its oranges. Meanwhile – as Mater Ecclesiae is refurbished – he will stay in the papal residence at Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome.

3. His clothing. The Pope emeritus will continue to wear papal white – rather than the black of an ordinary priest, or the red of a cardinal. However it will be a simple cassock, with none of the flamboyant hats and vestments he revived during his papacy (prompting the Wall Street Journal to ask “Does the Pope Wear Prada?”) He will be giving up his trademark red shoes, wearing instead brown shoes handmade for him by Mexican craftsmen during a visit to the country last year.

4. His ring The papal gold ring, known as the fisherman’s ring, will be smashed with a specially designed silver hammer when the Pope leaves office. No change here from normal practice. “Objects strictly tied to the ministry of St Peter must be destroyed,” the Vatican says. His personal seal will also be defaced.

Pope Benedict XVI's resigned starting with February 28

Pope Benedict XVI’s resigned starting with February 28

5. His duties. Benedict XVI will have no further administrative or official duties. He will not participate in the conclave to elect his successor (nor will any cardinal over the age of 80), though, since he appointed 67 of the 115 men who will take part in the conclave, his influence will be felt. Senior Catholics have also been re-reading speeches made by Benedict XVI before of his retirement for any hints about the qualities he believes his successor will require.

6. Life in retirement. Announcing his resignation, the Pope said he would spend his time praying for the Church. His elder brother, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, has also said Benedict would be happy to advise his successor, if required. Writing and studying also seems likely to be on the agenda – Benedict had a library of 20,000 books installed in the papal apartments when he was elected in 2005. He also enjoys playing the piano and watching old black-and-white comedies – and he loves cats. At least one, Contessina, is known to live at Mater Ecclesiae.

7. Social media. The Pope’s Twitter accounts (@Pontifex and its eight different language versions) will go into hibernation when Benedict XVI steps down. He is expected to utter his final tweets along with his final general audience on Wednesday and before he departs the Vatican on Thursday – saying goodbye to the 2.5 million followers he has gained since opening his account late last year. Whether he will take the papal iPad on the helicopter is an open question. During the “interregnum” – the period between two popes – Vatican updates will be distributed from the Secretariat of State’s account @TerzaLoggia.

8. Golden parachute. Modest as Benedict XVI’s retirement plans may be, as a bishop he will retain the Vatican’s generous private healthcare policy and is likely to have recourse to the doctors who currently manage his medical treatment. It’s possible he will continue to be cared for by the small group of German nuns who have looked after him during his papacy. As a pope has not retired for 600 years, there’s no precedent for a papal pension plan, but Canon law requires each diocese to look after the welfare of retiring clerics. Rome will doubtless take good care of its Pope emeritus.

9. Georg Ganswein. Benedict XVI’s personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Ganswein – the photogenic face seen in the background of a million photographs – will stay in this post. However, he will also keep up his role as head of the papal household for Benedict’s successor. He will be the servant of two masters.

10. Infallibility. It’s a widely held misconception the Pope is infallible in everything he says and does. In fact, the First Vatican Council of 1870 ruled a Pope’s rulings are infallible only when they are made “ex-cathedra” – as part of a doctrinal statement about the Church. Benedict XVI never invoked this privilege (and in fact only one infallible statement has been made since 1870). When he resigns as Pope he will no longer be able to make ex-cathedra statements.

[youtube Vm-IxTnfWbc]

Pope Benedict XVI has officially resigned today, saying that he now “will simply be a pilgrim” starting his last journey on earth.

The pontiff, aged 86, was earlier flown by helicopter from the Vatican to his retreat at Castel Gandolfo, near Rome.

His deputy, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, is now in charge of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics until a new pope is elected next month.

Benedict vowed “unconditional obedience and reverence” to his successor.

He stepped down after nearly eight years in office – the first pontiff to do so in 600 years.

Benedict officially ceased to be the Pope at 20:00 local time.

The resignation was marked by the papal Swiss Guards stepping down from their posts at Castel Gandolfo to return to the Vatican. The protection of Benedict was taken over by Italian police.

In his retirement, Benedict will wear a simple white cassock rather than his papal clothes, and swap his famous red shoes – the color is symbolic of the blood of the early Christian martyrs – for brown.

His “Fisherman’s Ring”, the special signet ring which contains the Pope’s name and is impressed to validate certain official documents, is expected to be destroyed along with the lead seal of the pontificate.

The German pontiff, who was born Joseph Ratzinger, will continue to be known as Benedict XVI, with the new title of “pope emeritus”.

The long-time theologian is expected eventually to retire to a monastery on a hill inside Vatican City, with officials saying he will not be able intervene publicly in the papacy of his
successor, though he may offer advice.

Pope Benedict XVI has officially resigned today, saying that he now "will simply be a pilgrim" starting his last journey on earth

Pope Benedict XVI has officially resigned today, saying that he now “will simply be a pilgrim” starting his last journey on earth

The conclave of 115 cardinals is expected to meet at the Vatican on Monday morning to start planning the election of the next pope.

Earlier on Thursday, bells of St Peter’s rang across the Vatican as Benedict boarded the helicopter for a short flight to Castel Gandolfo.

Before that, the pontiff was greeted for the last time by top officials in the Curia – the administrative body that runs the Holy See.

Benedict then appeared at a window overlooking the public square in Castel Gandolfo to bless a cheering crowd.

“Thank you very much for your friendship,” Benedict said.

“I will simply be a pilgrim who is starting the last phase of his pilgrimage on this earth.

“Let’s go forward with God for the good of the Church and the world.”

Some in the crowd were in tears listening to what could be Benedict’s final public words as pope.

In his final tweet, Benedict wrote: “Thank you for your love and support. May you always experience the joy that comes from putting Christ at the centre of your lives.”

The Vatican now enters the Sede Vacante – or period of transition between two pontificates.

Benedict’s successor must focus on reforming the Vatican bureaucracy which has often been overly hesitant to react to the various crises which have arisen during Benedict’s papacy.

On Thursday morning, the Pope received the cardinals at the Vatican’s Clementine Hall, warmly embracing Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who passed on best wishes on behalf of those gathered.

“Among you there is also the future pope to whom I promise my unconditional obedience and reverence,” the pontiff said.

“The Church is a living being,” he added, but it “also remains always the same”.

In his public farewell speech on Wednesday, Benedict hinted at Vatican infighting.

His decision to resign has been openly criticized by Australia’s top Catholic, Cardinal George Pell, who questioned his leadership skills.

The Church has been beset by scandals over sexual abuse by priests and leaked confidential documents revealing internal corruption and feuding.

An estimated 150,000 people packed into St Peter’s Square on Wednesday to hear Benedict speak in his last address there.

[youtube Vm-IxTnfWbc]