Rorate Caeli

"Pope Emeritus", in white

According to details made public today by the Holy See spokesman, Fr. Lombardi, in a press conference:

-Pope Benedict XVI will be referred to as "Pope Emeritus" or "Pontiff Emeritus";
-He will keep the style "His Holiness Benedict XVI";
-He will keep wearing a simple white cassock (as you have seen above in our header for the past few days), with no papal mozzetta;
-The fisherman's ring, and the lead seal, will be broken.

The Pope arrives in Castel Gandolfo on Feb. 28, at 1715 (5:15 PM). At 2000 (8PM, Rome local time), the Swiss Guard will leave Castel Gandolfo, since its services of protection are limited to the person of the Pontiff; the security of the "Pope Emeritus" will be assured by the Vatican Gendarmerie.

(Source: Vatican Information Service)


David L Alexander said...

It has long been my understanding that the Sacred College gathers to elect a Bishop of Rome, who by virtue of that position becomes the Pope. This, as opposed to the other way around. If only for that reason alone, I would have preferred "Bishop-Emeritus of Rome." But there wasn't much precedent to go on, so I can live with this.

rams said...


Recall the the vision of the 3rd secret of fatima. A part of it is now clear. A part which was not clear till now.

We saw ... a*Bishop dressed in White* WE HAD THE IMPRESSION THAT IT WAS THE HOLY FATHER. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women
Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-
hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father
passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with
pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed
by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there
died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and
various lay people of different ranks and positions.

jbd said...

"And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it' a Bishop dressed in White ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father'..."

The Third Secret of Fatima

Disappointed said...

And no red shoes!

JB said...

It sounds a little funny. I would have gone with bishop emeritus also.

Jason C. said...

Wow, a lot of people's brains are wired (fixated?) in the same way.

Rom Kiul said...

This is a mistake. After 28 February there will no longer be a "His Holiness Benedict XVI" - that title belongs to the office of Supreme Pontiff, not to the person of Mgr Joseph Ratzinger.

Recently Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands announced that she was stepping down, and after 30 April she will be known as Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix, because you can only have on monarch at a time. When the King of England, Edward VIII, abdicated in 1936, so that he could marry a divorcee, he was first known as HRH Prince Edward, and then HRH the Duke of Windsor.

We are going into uncharted territory after the resignation of a Pope, and it is important that there is no false steps. The correct title for Pope Benedict after 28 February is, in my humble opinion, Most Reverend Mgr Joseph Ratzinger, Bishop Emeritus of Rome.

Wake up England said...

The Vatileaks Report is to remain a secret until After the new Pope is elected. It will then be shewn to him. WHAT IF they elect someone who's been UP TO NO GOOD?

Martyjo said...

It cannot be possible that a Pope who abdicates retains the title of Pope or Pontiff, even with the postfix "Emeritus." Nor can he maintain the style "His Holiness" for the obvious reason that he is no longer the Vicar of Christ.

It is surely to the Papal office that these titles belong and not to individuals who have held that office and abdicated it.

Bishop Emeritus of Rome seemed the logical choice of title for the Pope following his abdication. Pope, Pontiff and His Holiness Emeritus can only lead to confusion with the impression that, for the first time in her sacred history, the Church will have two valid Popes, one active, the other passive. Hmmm!

Prof. Basto said...

Rom Kiul,

Gregory XII reverted to being Angelo Correr, and was later created a Cardinal. On the other hand, Celestine V after his resignation was still widely known as Celestine, and was canonized under his regnal name, as St. Celestine V.

I too would have preferred to see Benedict XVI assuming the title of a simple Bishop, with the appropriate violet attire and the title Bishop Emeritus of Rome, but not "Pope Emeritus" or "Supreme Pontiff Emeritus", while waiting the decision of the next Pope regarding a re-creation as Cardinal or not.

However, Benedict XVI, still Pope at this time, and therefore still yealding supreme ecclesiastical authority, decided otherwise.

He, the supreme ecclesiastical legislator, decided that his title will be Pope Emeritus, that the will wear a white cassock without mozzetta, that he will keep the name Benedict XVI etc., etc. Roma locuta, causa finita.

The treatment of "His Holiness" and the continued use or not of the regnal name is a matter of ecclesiastical discipline, and so can be decided - and was decided - by the reigning Pope.

The only remaining question is wether or not the Pope will automatically revert to being a Cardinal. Also, whatwould his Roman title in the Sacred College be? The former Gregory XII was made Cardinal Bishop of Porto and was given precedence above the Dean, but there are currently no vacant suburbicarian sees.

Canonist Dr. Ed Peters has opined that the reintegration of Benedict XVI to the College of Cardinals will be automatic, and that, therefore, from the start of the Vacant see, the Pope Emeritus will also be a Cardinal. He pointed to the practical advantages of that understanding, such as the fact that, under Canon Law, cardinals can hear confessions everywhere, can be judged only by the Pope himself, etc. There are no similar canonical laws for a Pope emeritus at this time.

Nevertheless, my opinion is that Benedict XVI, even with his title of Pope Emeritus, does not automatically become a Cardinal again on February 28. He left that College when he was elected Pope, and his title to his suburbicarian sees were assigned to other prelates. By his resignation, he does not revert to being a Cardinal. He can be re-created a Cardinal by the future Pope, but that is not automatic.

It is even possible that the newly created position of "Pope Emeritus", an absolute novelty, will be considered something superior to the Cardinalate, and thus it won't even be considered appropriate to create the Pope a Cardinal. His continued use of the regnal name and of white vestments seems to point in that direction.

All that would be left to do, then, would be the promulgation by the future Pope of changes to Canon Law, to give a Pope Emeritus the same privileges as are enjoyed by Cardinals of the H.R.C.

Truth Seeker said...

\\After 28 February there will no longer be a "His Holiness Benedict XVI" - that title belongs to the office of Supreme Pontiff, not to the person of Mgr Joseph Ratzinger. \\


Many Eastern Patriarchs use the style "His Holiness," among them Moscow, Constantinople, Romania, and Antioch.

I am not Spartacus said...

First, the Bishop in White was attributed to Pope Blessed John Paul II and now it is being attributed to Our Holy Father.

How many more?

Our first 32 Popes were assassinated simply because they were Catholics and Popes Linus up to and including Pope Miltiades had better reasons to abdicate (a rational expectation of being assassinated) then does Pope Benedict XVI - at least it seems that way to me.

Why would Mary ask the Pope to step-down when she heard Christ-deniers asking her son to step down from the Cross?

We Catholics confess that Our Holy Father is succored by the Holy Ghost to the extent that he can bear all - even that which seems to our human nature to be unbearable.

This revolutionary act bodes ill for all concerned.

Benedict Carter said...

Yes, they saw a Pope. Cardinals Ratzinger and Sodano told us it was John Paul II.

Fine, except that:

a) John Paul wasn't killed, the Pope in the vision was;

b) if it was John Paul, why did Our Lady say that to avoid those scenes, Russia must be consecrated to the Immaculate heart no later than 1960?

I don't believe it's Benedict either: it may well be the Pope who is about to be elected.

If he is a strong man, courageous and unafraid of the heretics in the Church, the sodo-mafia and the Masons, then expect things to start happening.

As for Benedict's new title, I would have been happier if he had removed himself to a remote Alpine peak with the Carthusians and called himself Cardinal Ratzinger.

I am not Spartacus said...

We already have witnessed the Bishop in White - Pope John Paul II who identified his own self as that Bishop:

ROME, 15 MAY 2006 (ZENIT)

There is a mysterious link between Pope John Paul II and Our Lady of Fatima, says journalist Renzo Allegri.

And there is also a tie between the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the fall of Communist regimes, he contends.

Allegri, the author of "Il Papa di Fatima" (The Fatima Pope), published by Mondadori, shared some of his insights with ZENIT. Part 1 of this interview appeared Sunday.

On Saturday, the 25th anniversary of the assassination attempt on John Paul II, the statue of Our Lady of Fatima was processed through St. Peter's Square, where the Polish Pope shed his blood.

Q: When did John Paul II understand that he was the Pope of Fatima, and what did he do after he became aware of it?

Allegri: As I already mentioned, it is thought that Pope Karol Wojtyla became aware of his own role in relation to the message of Fatima, after the attack, reflecting on what happened, the coincidence between the attack and the date of the apparitions of Fatima, and reading the text of the secret.

Since his youth, his Marian devotion was always very great. In his devotional practices, he gave priority to Polish Marian shrines, because they were part of his religious tradition, and also because he could not leave Poland.

But he knew the history of Fatima well and the part of the secret already revealed by Lucia, which speaks about Russia, Communism and the persecution of believers.

The attack made him "center" his attention on his own role in regard to Fatima. He was very impressed by the coincidence of the date of the attack, May 13 at 5:17 p.m., with that of the start of the apparitions on May 13, 1917.

Matt said...

Interesting. Well, since this hasn't happened in 600 years, I suppose they can make up whatever they want. Odd though, the Holy Father wants to keep the trappings of Papacy even though he will no longer have anything to do with it. I think the question can be rightly asked, does he in principle have the right to this?

i agree with Rom Kiul this is a mistake. The title "His Holiness" belongs to the reigning Pope, not an after-pope.

This is curious also. The Church's press releases keep saying the Holy Father will be going to Castel Gandolfo but doesn't say when he will be leaving and heading to his new digs.

Where's Ganswein going, BTW?

Matt said...

Truth Seeker said, WRONG!

Many Eastern Patriarchs use the style "His Holiness," among them Moscow, Constantinople, Romania, and Antioch."

Yes, WRONG!! That's all that Eastern stuff. There is no precedence for it in the ROMAN Church and no correlative thereof.

Rom Kiul said...

\\After 28 February there will no longer be a "His Holiness Benedict XVI" - that title belongs to the office of Supreme Pontiff, not to the person of Mgr Joseph Ratzinger. \\


Many Eastern Patriarchs use the style "His Holiness," among them Moscow, Constantinople, Romania, and Antioch.

It is the "Benedict XVI" that belongs to the office of the papacy. While he is Pope, that title belongs to him, when he is not Pope then it does not belong to him. The future history of the papacy will contain the line "Benedict XVI (2005-2013)". After 8pm on Friday "Benedict XVI" will not exist any more. We cannot have two Popes at the same time.

While he is still Pope, Benedict can decide on the name he will be called when he retires. When a new Pope is elected he will be able to change that name if, as I hope, he decides that retaining the name Benedict XVI (and the white cassock) would be inappropriate.

Martyjo said...

truth Seeker,

You wrote: "Many Eastern Patriarchs use the style "His Holiness," among them Moscow, Constantinople, Romania, and Antioch."

You incorporate some Orthodox (i.e.,non-Catholic) Patriarchs in you comments, which are obviously useless for the purpose of comparison. At any rate, our discussion here is centred on the Tradition of the Western Church, not the Eastern. There is no precedent in the Western Church for a Pope who has abdicated to continue to be known by the title "His Holiness." It's a worrying first!

lucas clover alcole said...

How can keep his title when he's no longer pope? That is completely illogical and frankly I'm starting to wonder if this resignation is going to undermine the office of the papacy

KnightofChrist said...

This post is something of a lark, but Benedict XVI could be seen in the Prophecy of the Popes by Saint Malachy, as Gloria olivæ and Petrus Romanus. If Benedict XVI is a Pontiff Emeritus, and lives in Rome, then Peter the citizen of Rome (Roman means "citizen of Rome") could apply to Benedict XVI. Whether or not it means anything is another matter. It's simply interesting to me.

solly gratia said...

A Pope in name could be a Pope who steps back in when needed. We could have him against an anti-Pope. I know the Malachy stuff is all tosh, but there does seem to be serious cause for concern about the future of the RCC as it is. A papal conflict between the two factions could rend the fabric even more. But a Pope in place would be a rallying point.
Admittedly, Benedict may only have a few more years, but those years may be the most crucial if the conclave goes in a different direction than he hopes.

Feel free to tell me I've been reading too much Dan Brown.

Alan Aversa said...

Why not "Most Cardinal Ratzinger"? "Pope Emeritus" makes it seem like he's just another retired bishop.

Postulator said...

I would have preferred that the pope received the title of cardinal, rather than the innovative title of "Pope Emeritus", because it is more in keeping with the precedent following resignation of Gregory XII who was recreated a cardinal after his resignation. There is only room for one "pope" in the church, and the use of this title may some unforeseen complications down the road.

God bless our pope. Watch over thy Church O Lord! Have mercy on us sinners and grant us a wise, strong, and holy shepherd to tend thy flock.

Cruise the Groove. said...

Is being shot and injured and recovering and reigning for over 20 more years, the same as being killed?

Throckmorton P. said...

With apologies in advance for the analogy, former office holders and military officers retain their titles. They are still General, President, Senator, or the highest office they attained. I go with Pope Benedict. (Too American!:)

JB said...

Throckmorton, that is true, but in those cases - - take the president for example - - the former president does not continue to reside in the White House or even Washington. Moreover, he is term limited so everyone knows it's a ceremonial title.

Given 600 years of popes for life this may get very confusing and not in a good way.

John said...

There is the curious case of Pope Silverius, who was deposed by will of the Roman Emperor Justinian. The hated Pope Vigilius was installed while Silverius was still alive. So, for the period of over three months, there was both a living pontiff and a retired pontiff. Silverius is honoured as a martyr and a saint in the Western church. Justinian (who built many churches including the Haggia Sophia) is a canonized saint in the Eastern church. Curiously, Silverius never shows up on lists of popes who have abdicated, while Vigilius is also left off of lists of various anti-popes (in effect historians recognize the abdication of his predecessor). During his papacy, Vigilius incurred the wrath of the Emperor (who installed him) and was excommunicated by the African church. A great deal of this is related to the Emperor's failed attempts to bring the Copts back into communion with his church, and Rome's failed attempts to adhere to the will of the emperor.

Tom S. said...

Confusion - why ??? There are many diocese which have Bishops Emeritus (including my own, which has had one for about 10 years) and they have not melted down into a morass of confusion over who is in charge. My Bishop Emeritus is quite active in the Diocese, helping with confirmations, etc., and no one seems to have any problem understanding who he is or is not. Why should the Papacy be any different - especially since BVII will be essentially out of public view?

And besides, there is absolutely nothing wrong with simply allowing the man to choose the procedures, attire, rights, and title that should be used in this situation. He is the supreme legislator of the Church until the 8PM on the 28th, and that by definition gives him that right - so just chill.

James M said...

No pope has the right to bind his successor to anything, therefore I see difficulties in an outgoing pope decreeing styles, titles, costumes, and even Vatican residences for himself. This is highly irregular and it all becomes meaningless the moment a new pope is elected insofar as none of it will have any stability in law.

The next pope would be perfectly within his rights to nullify Benedict's presumed styles and titles, force him to relinquish the color white for his habit, and ask him to find lodging elsewhere.

When a king or a queen abdicates, they do not get to simply decide what styles, titles, residences, and other perquisites their successors will grant them. They simply vacate their thrones and hope that their successors will be generous to them.

This is all very odd.

Fred said...

Ferraiuolo said...
Sister Lucia could not tell if the Bishop in white was the Pope, she was confused by the image. Things have all of a sudden become really scary.

Thank you for the most important insight of the day!

BONIFACE said...

Regarding the future of Ganswein:

"Archbishop Gänswein will move with Pope Benedict XVI when he retires on Feb. 28, but he also intends to retain his role as head of the Pontifical Household. “The Pope will be accompanied to Castel Gandolfo and also to the monastery by Archbishop Gänswein and the Memores Domini, because this is the fundamental nuclear group of the pontifical family.” “He will also remain the head of the Papal Household”. Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told the press on Feb. 14"

^ []

Ora et Labora said...

I too, have no problem with his title "Pope Emeritus" and his styled "His Holiness Benedict XVI"; Pope Benedict XVI is still the Pope, and he has decided what his title will be, and that's all there is to it.


ben ingledew said...

In St. Don Bosco's "Prophecy of the two columns" ( is the following passage.

"Meanwhile, enemy cannons blow up, firearms and beaks fall to pieces, ships crack up and sink to the bottom. In blind fury the enemy takes to hand-to-hand combat, cursing and blaspheming. Suddenly the Pope falls, seriously wounded. He is instantly helped up but, struck down a second time, dies. A shout of victory rises from the enemy and wild rejoicing sweeps their ships. But no sooner is the Pope dead than another takes his place. The captains of the auxiliary ships elected him so quickly that the news of the Pope's death coincides with that of his successor's election. The enemy's self-assurance wanes.",

I wondered how it was possible for the news of a Pope's death to coincide with the news of his successors elections. Normally it would be about 2-3 weeks between the death of a Pope and the election of his successor. The obvious assumption would be that we were is some kind of war type situation where are news is cut off.

However, in the current situation it seems to me that this precise scenario could occur since the Pope has not died but resigned so it could happen that the next Pope could be elected and the same time as the current Pope dies.

Tom S. said...

James M said...

"No pope has the right to bind his successor to anything...."

Absolutely true. And FWIW, from what we have seen of our Holy Father and his humility, I have no doubt that, were his successor to come to him and tell him that he was needed to be an assistant to the Pastor at some tiny out of the way parish, he would pack up, put on his (black) cassock, and head off to the rectory of that place.

However, unless and until that (unlikely) event happens, the current Pontiffs decisions will stand.

Tom said...

Among my reasons for having discounted conspiracy theory reports as to the "real" reason why Pope Benedict XVI abdicated — he announced his reason(s), the Holy See has denounced the news media reports in question...that is good enough for me — is the inability of the news media to report accurately upon Holy Mother Church — even when a Catholic is, in effect, the reporter.

Today on, is the following from "Sister Mary Ann Walsh is director of media relations for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and a member of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Northeast Regional Community. She is a former foreign correspondent at Catholic News Service.

"A similar controversy erupted when he tried to bring the schismatic Society of St. Pius X back into the Roman Catholic fold."

CNN, who I would think verifies the information that they transmit under the name, could have verified, via the Holy See, Sister Mary Ann Walsh's claim that the Society of Saint Pius X is schismatic. Had CNN done so, they would have been informed that the Society has never been declared "schismatic" by the Holy Catholic Church.

It is, it really isn't...that the news media, after decades of having reported upon the Society, remain clueless as to the Society's standing within Holy Mother Church. The Society of Saint Pius X exists in an irregular, not schismatic, relationship with the Holy Mother Church.

Even more, it really isn' that the "director of media relations for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops" is unable to report accurately upon Church-related issues.

I am supposed to believe Papal abdication conspiracy theories — rejected by the Pope's own and a Holy See declaration — when I consider the above? No, thank you.

Now, even more chilling if her interpretation in regard to Pope Benedict XVI is correct, is the following from Sister Walsh:

"He was barely into his papacy, for example, when he visited Regensburg, Germany, where he once taught theology. Like many a professor, he offered a provocative statement to get the conversation going.

"To introduce the theme of his lecture, the pope quoted from an account of a dialogue between the Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an unnamed Muslim scholar, sometime near the end of the 14th century -- a quote that was misinterpreted by some as a condemnation of Mohammed and Islam.

"Unfortunately, the statement about Islam was taken as insult, not a discussion opener, and sparked rage throughout the Muslim world.

"The startled pope had to explain himself. He apologized and traveled two months later to Istanbul's Blue Mosque, where he stood shoeless in prayer beside the Grand Mufti of Istanbul.

"Later he hosted Muslim leaders at the Vatican at the start of a Catholic-Muslim forum for dialogue. It was a human moment — a mistake, an apology and atonement — all round."

The image of a "shoeless" Roman Pontiff inside a mosque standing in prayer alongside the Grand Mufti of Istanbul, if effect, bowed before and in "attonement and apologetic to Islam is chilling.

Is Sister Walsh's spin on that correct? Is that how Pope Benedict XVI portrayed his visit to and actions inside the mosque in question. Did Sister mary Walsh and/or CNN bother to consult the Pope's General Audience remarks from December 6, 2006 A.D., in which His Holiness mentioned his visit to the mosque?


Paul Haley said...

Did Jesus resign? Should His Vicar resign? IMO the concept of having two popes at one time is an idea that only the modernists would come up with. Are we living in the end-times? One would certainly think so. Really, Your Holiness, I ask that you reconsider.

Holy Saints of God help us! There are certainly holy men of God that could help the current Pope fulfill the duties of his office, if deemed truly necessary. Call them papal aides or whatever - it's a better option in these times. And I'm sure the contributors to this blog could think of numerous holy men of God that could fulfill that role (hint, hint).

Prof. Basto said...

James M,

Absolutely true. Nevertheless, the Pope needed to issue some sort of rule about this, because the problem of his style, title and residence would present itself from the first moment of the Sede Vacante.

So, I don't see this as "highly irregular". Some rule had to be put in place about what would happen, and a rule was made.

The rule that was created today will remain in force unless revoked by a future Pope. So, the election of the new Pope does not nullify the rule.

But you are right that the new Pope can alter this arrangement, can lay down different rules, and Pope Emeritus Benedict will have to obey the new Head visible of the Church.

Martujo said...

Ora et Labora

You wrote:


This phrase refers to infallible dogmatic definitions. It absolutely DOES NOT apply to the present debate.

Sobieski said...

I think traditionalists, like Christopher Ferrara, raise ask some good questions regarding whether the Third Secret of Fatima has been entirely released and its official interpretation. If I recall from memory correctly, Sr. Lucia, for example, wrote JP II after the assassination attempt on his life explaining that the secret had not yet been fulfilled. Further the official explanation does not line up with prior public testimony from Vatican officials alluding to the contents of the secret.

See the third video.

Cathy said...


1. How could Benedict's personal secretary go into retirement with the Pope, yet still remain head of the Pontifical household?

2. Why will Benedict still be called "His Holiness, Benedict XVI" and not simply Joseph Ratzinger?

3. Did Benedict XVI resign or not?

P.K.T.P. said...

I am returning briefly to complain about a justice done to me here. About two months ago, someone used my name here to mock me for having predicted an abdication. Now we have an abdication. And it is an abdication, as, in standard English usage, 'resignation' implies an authority which can accept or refuse the renunciation of office. This is an issue of usage, of course, not one of etymology. The Holy See used the term 'renunciation' in its official statement. Abdication is the preferred term for a sovereign who renounces office without seeking anyone's leave.

The Pope should not wear white or use the title 'His Holiness' after abdication. There should not be even the appearance of two popes at the same time.

To answer one contributor here, Edward VIII became The Prince Edward after his abdication. This did not change to the Duke of Windsor; rather, the latter title was merely added to the former. In parallel, this Pope would become Bishop of Rome Emeritus and might later be elevated to the Sacred College. I'm not sure if he remains a cardinal in any event. I don't know everything on these matters but this new style being chosen is certainly contrary to good practice. In law, of course, he can choose his own style and it will be valid at least until the next Pope decides otherwise.

Let's hope that the next Pope puts the triregnum on his personal shield and once again uses the title of Patriarch of the West, which remains a papal title, as it has not yet lapsed by desuetude.


P.K.T.P. said...

Dear Prof. Basto:

After death, an abdicated Pope or King reverts to his regnal name. The Duke of Windsor is properly called Edward VIII since his death in 1972.

Benedict Carter said...

Stop Press ....

Murphy-O'connor "on point" for a coup d'etat against the Papacy?

Prof. Basto said...

Mr. Perkins,

While I agree with you that there SHOULDN'T BE even the appearence of two Popes at once, yet, in the Spirit of the Modern Age, not only this abdication was executed, but also the Pope now decided to create in the Church the position of Pope emeritus.

Just like decades ago Paul VI invented the position of Bishops emeriti, and the situation of Cardinals non-electors.

In this novel and modern world, there will be the appearence of two Popes, because one of them will be the retired Pope emeritus, still having the word "Pope" as part of his title, and the other will be the reigning Pope, the actual Roman Pontiff.

A novelty we all must swallow, in the Spirit of Vatican II, as we swallowed the creation of Bishops emeriti and so many other novelties.

The creation of this novel title makes this resignation definitely.

P.K.T.P. said...


The positions of Prefect of the Papal Household and personal secretary are separate. Under the law, everyone save the Camerlengo and Dean of the Sacred College, &c., loses office and then resumes it after the election of the next Pope. So he will presumably keep his new position, although the next Pope might decide otherwise, of course.


Prof. Basto said...

I was saying...

The creation of this novel title makes this resignation definitely a Vatican II moment.

Ora et Labora said...

Martujo, all right fair enough.

So let's try it this way.

I too, have no problem with his title "Pope Emeritus" and his styled "His Holiness Benedict XVI"; Pope Benedict XVI is still the Pope, and he has decided what his title will be, and that's all there is to it.

I doubt he will change his mind because many in here want him to.

The only way I can see this happening is if the next pope asks Benedict to reconsider his title. And I doubt that will be the case but hey I could be wrong.

So until that happens, the Pope has spoken case is finished.

Mary Help of Christians pray for us!!!

JB said...

For some reason the title business is bringing me back to King Lear. I am surprised that he wants to keep the title Pope in any manner. Maybe there is some good reason for this which I am not getting, but I don't see it.

tuy boy said...

Chris Ferrara's latest article, "The Papal Resignation: Blessing or Catastrophe?", on, is probably the best thing I've read since this whole mess started. Obviously, Pope Benedict has the dubious advantage of knowing the whole Third Secret, so, I have got to give him the benefit of the doubt in this situation, dire though it most certainly is. He has been at this game a long time and no one knows the ropes better. In any case, he's the one who must answer to God for his actions. God help us all!

FaithfultoGod said...

Hmmm, is the Fatima Third Secret describing this "climb" as happening within the time Pope Benedict resigns and the Papal election? It seems there is only one Pope image or impression, not two.

Or, does it mean that the elected new Pope is not legitimate or abandons the Church, leaving only Benedict?

One thing for sure, I will not muse any further. It seems sacrilegious somehow to ponder beyond my aptitude. My hunch is that the white clothed impression is some future pope, not Benedict.

Rodez said...

I think it's important to keep in mind that Joseph Ratzinger and Benedict XVI are not ontologically two different people.

In response to Rom Kiul, "Benedict XVI" ceases to reign on Feb. 28th (hence, as you rightly point out, his regnal years on the papal rosters will reflect 2013 as the conclusion of his reign), but the man survives.

It may be that, by association with the secular order, we are attaching only office-related import to the incumbent pope's name while such name can also be seen as having a spiritual significance that remains even after the conclusion of one's service. Consider the name "Benedict XVI" as a charism-related adoptive name similar to that which we assumed at Confirmation. We never lose our Confirmation name. It would seem equally appropriate for the pope to retain the name he adopted upon becoming pope.

As far as the style of "His Holiness" goes, many have been quick to draw analogies from British conventions. Why not also remark on our American presidents who continue, out of deference, to be referred to as "Mr. President" even after their terms? Further, despite their currently being, what, five men in the country addressed as "Mr. President", this has never been a source of confusion as to who is the actual incumbent.

Finally, a word to Prof. Basto: "Pope Emeritus" is not a position for crying out loud. Do not make a mountain out of a molehill. It is simply a designation for someone who has completed his run, his service--in this case, by abdication.

Cathy said...

Will the cardinal electors also nominate the Secretary of State as well as the Pope?

Terth said...

"Just like decades ago Paul VI invented the position of Bishops emeriti . . .

A bishop without a see. SSPX?

Benedict Carter said...

Very surprised no-one's come back on the Guardian story. The relevant bit is as follows:

"He (Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor) added that many bishops and cardinals believed the entire church should be reformed by Benedict XVI's successor, with the pope taking a much less dominant role in the church, to give a greater say to its bishops. "It is not just the pope who rules the church," he said. "It is the pope with the bishops. "There is no doubt that today there needs to be renewal in the church, reform in the church and especially of government," he told a news conference in London. "How is this next pope going to govern the church?"

To me, this reads as:

i. The deliberate side-lining of the Pope and therefore the overthrow of Vatican I.

ii. The effective creation of national catholic Churches run by committee (Bishops' Conferences) with all their ills, including a professional salary-drawing laity.

iii. The final Modernist victory.

This then is the scenario, based on what Cardinals have publicly stated in the last two weeks. The progressives want:

* Priestesses;
* An amiable old uncle Papacy with no authority nor power - this is the early fifteenth century Conciliarist heresy back in full flood;
* Relaxation of the Church's prohibition of contraception and it's alright if that means some level of abortion.

No doubt others have spotted some I have missed.

Every Conclave is vital for the Church and the whole world: it seems to me that for this one, the whole of Creation will be holding its breath.

Is Anti-Christ close to us now? Is he in the world?

Carolus said...

It is recorded that, when Saint Celestine V signed his Renunciation of the Roman Pontificate, effectively immediately, he rose from his Throne, walked down the steps, disvested himself of all the papal insignia, and took on the habbit of a hermit.

Pope Benedict XVI instead, dressed in papal white, and with the title of His Holiness the Pope Emeritus, will go to the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo, where he will be the next Pope's guest, until the completion of his Vatican Monastery.

There he will reside with his Household, that will include the nucleus of his present Household, and will continue to be headed by the same man who is the Prefect of the Papal Household.

I wonder. During the Vacant See, it is the duty of the Cardinal Camerlengo to seal the Papal Apartments of all inhabited Papal Palaces.

Will Pope Benedict be residing in the Papal Apartment of Castel Gandolfo (which would mean that the Camerlengo will probably omit the sealing of that Apartment), or will He be residing at another apartment, a guest apartment, at the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo?

puzzled said...

Can one of the learned moderators or readers of this venerable blog please tell me why the RED SHOES are essential to the reigning pontiff, while the white cassock is not? What is it with those red shoes?

JB said...

the difference is that the American presidency is a man made institution; the papacy divine. The Church is also sensitive to the issue of any appearance of "multiple" popes after what happened during the Great Schism.

I can deal with "Holiness" I just don't care for "pope emeritus."

Patrick said...

Benedict XVI is now allegedly going to live a life of seclusion, prayer and contemplation which begs the question as to why he simply didn't become a monk,dress accordingly and live within a community rather than have a retirement residence fitted out underneath the nose of his successor. The last thing that should happen is any future appearance or statements from him. He has decided upon this peculiar course so he needs to be out of sight and out of mind for this to work -- a real "Papal Cloister". No worries about titular niceties, cardinal status or the color of his shoes (Pius XII wore white ones as I recall). I understand that keeping him in the Vatican will make security and monitoring easier but in the good old days I suspect the Castel Sant'angelo would have been the place of retreat.

Judith said...

It is obvious that there are so many 'Monday morning quarterbacks' among Catholic Blog followers that there is nothing that the Pope thinks, says, or does that is not fodder for their analysis and criticism.

This is supposed to be a Traditional Catholic blog.
Well traditionally, Catholics did not pick apart every word and deed of the Pontiff. It would be completely unheard of.

I know this is an issue which the average blog follower can comprehend, but can you actually get yourself all worked up about it?

I'm sure there isn't one single person who is of sound mind who will confuse the resigning Pope Benedict XVI with the soon to be elected Pope. We are not living during the "Great Schism," and we are all clear, 100% clear, about who Benedict XVI is and his current status as Pope.

Whatever he decides to call himself, it isn't for me to second guess him. It certainly doesn't effect any of us in our material sadly, this is what we have become.

JP said...


Since Benedict XVI is gonna become Pope Emeritus after February 28 then will his name and number count in the official list of popes or will it be labeled pope emeritus. Because he isnt dead yet... He is still alive!

Will he still be counted as Benedict XVI in the list?

New Catholic said...

While some aspects of your comment tend to misrepresent Catholic attitude towards the Holy Father, I mostly agree with you.

JB said...

Well Judith if you feel that strongly about the commentary you must not care for the blog post either, which appropriately informs us of the news of this new title. I don't think anyone thought he would retain the title of pope in any fashion; it grates on catholic sensibilities a tad at least. Regardless, this is obviously not one of the Church's major concerns, as this blog has demonstrated for many years.

Gus Barbarigo said...

The Third Fatima Secret speaks of the outrage against the 'bishop in white' happening on a hill or a mountain.

In the Pope's recent sermon on the Transfiguration, as reported on this website, the Pope said, "The Lord is calling me to 'climb the mountain'..."

Is our dear Papa keeping a papal name (Pontifex Emeritus), wearing white, and claiming a move up the mountain, to take it upon himself to fulfill the prophecy, in order to spare his successor the horror that prophecy describes!

John Fisher said...

The story of Celestine V is quite interesting. The former Celestine, Pietro Angelerio, was not allowed to remain in solitude. Various parties had opposed his resignation and the new Pope Boniface VIII had reason to worry that one of them might install him as an antipope. To prevent this he ordered Pietro brought to Rome. Pietro escaped and hid out in the woods before returning to Sulmona to resume monastic life. This proved impossible and Pietro was captured after an attempt to flee to Dalmatia. Boniface imprisoned him in the castle of Fumone near Ferentino in Campagna, where Pietro died after 10 months. His supporters spread the allegation that Boniface had treated him harshly and ultimately executed Pietro.
The point.. Benedict XVI will have to keep his head down.

Veritas, JCD said...

In mission countries, and warm climes, Bishops and Monsignori as well as ordinary priests often don a simple white house cassock, much like in Italy, Bishops and Cardinals often just wear the simple black "house cassock" of a priest. I've met Cardinal Ratzinger more than once in Rome, at at the Holy Office too...and he too wore the simple cassock of a priest. Only his ring and Pectoral cross as well as his skullcap gave away the fact he was a Cardinal. So, people, let's chill out on the issue. Wearing a white cassock is not much of a mystery. Since the simar is a garment of jurisdiction (cf. "The Church Visible: ceremonial and protocol of the Roman Catholic Church by James-Charles Noonan, Jr) it is clear why Benedict XVI will not wear it any more, no more than the typical red shoes, proper of the holder of the Petrine Office, and the Fisherman's ring.

As for his being styled, "Your Holiness", even though he has renounced papal office, I don't see why people are bent out of shape for that: A Bishop (retired or not) is always styled, "Your Excellency", a Cardinal whether retired or not is always styled, "Your Eminence". Whilst I am not an American, I know that when addressing a Former President, in direct speech he is always called, "Mr. President". It is a mark of respect to the person who HELD the most powerful position in the secular world. It is also true that in most countries, retired Officers from Armed Forces are stilled called, "General, Colonnel, Captain etc..." I think there are multiple examples that can be used. Of course, one never confuses a retired General from a General in active duty, no more than in my own Archdiocese, no one confuses the incumbant with the two retired Archbishops who live and work in the Archdiocese, the immediate predecessor living a stone's throe from the Chancery. Everyone knows that the BOSS is the reigning Archbishop !

I think one should alwyas distinguish between essential symbols and titles of the Office and the familiar style. Pope is not a canonical title. The Code never uses that title. Pope Emeritus obviously means "the one who WAS the Pope" of Roman Pontiff Emeritus means "The one who WAS the Roman Pontiff". There can be no confusion for anyone who can read or write !

I trust much more Pope Benedict's intelligence than mine, and as a holder of a doctorate in Canon Law and having been consulted by Nuncios a few time on various issues, I willingly say that the Holy Father's decision to renounce office is NOT repugnant to canonical law and that his insights into his title and even his vesture show great simplicity and a deep knowledge of symbolism. I am ready to bet that not many readers even asked themselves why he will not wear a cape anymore over his cassock.The answer is simple: he does not have that jurisdiction anymore ! So I trust his judgement and I have know that as a priest and a Prelate of His Holiness, There will be no doubt in my mind that the future Pontiff that will be elected is the one who willhave full, immediate and ordinary power of governance over the whole Church. In a layman's term, we'll all know "who is the boss", anyone affirming the contrary just displays ignorance of things ecclesial...much like the secularpress does. I would have hoped better from persons attached to Tradition, but I find too many comments bordering lack of charity or even trust. Let us love and trust our Pope and follow him unreservedly as the Roman Pontiff until the period of Sede Vacante begins. Then. When the New Pope comes, let us hope that he will have recourse to the wisdom of Benedict XVI just living next door.I know that my Archbishop is a man who is really sure of himself, but he insisted that his predecessor live nearby where he could consult him without difficulty (and discreetly too). I trust the new Pope will do the same as my Archbishop ! Oremus pro pontefice nostro Benedicto !

Matt said...

BONIFACE said "Archbishop Gänswein will move with Pope Benedict XVI when he retires on Feb. 28, but he also intends to retain his role as head of the Pontifical Household."

Curious he intends. The Prefect of The Papal Household serves at the Pope's pleasure as it is an appointed position and technically disappears when the reigning Pope does also. Who's to say the succeeding Pope wants to keep him there? Could it be Gänswein has a clue-in on something. Interesting.

Ld.Schmidt said...

In my sadness of this event of our Pope steppping aside, I'm happy that the present Curia will be out of a job, unless the New Pope elects to keep them. "Come Holy Ghost .....", This Is true isn'[t it New Catholic?

Gratias said...

I am very glad to see that P.K.T.P. is still posting. He was missed.

Tom said...

Judith said..."It is obvious that there are so many 'Monday morning quarterbacks' among Catholic Blog followers that there is nothing that the Pope thinks, says, or does that is not fodder for their analysis and criticism.

"This is supposed to be a Traditional Catholic blog.
Well traditionally, Catholics did not pick apart every word and deed of the Pontiff. It would be completely unheard of."

Not during the early centuries of the Church. Catholics critiqued Popes, bishops...the laity rioted over the selections of Popes and bishops. People died during said riots. The laity demanded a major voice in the Church.

Traditionalists today are horrified whenever there is talk of empowering the laity. Well, the Traditional Catholic laity of the Early Church were "modernists" by the standards of today's Traditionalists.

The laity then did not tolerate exclusion from the process to elect Popes and bishops. The notion of limiting their role to prayer-only during the elections of Popes and bishops was unthinkable to Early Church Traditionalists.

You believe that the laity did not "pick apart every word and deed of the Pontiff. It would be completely unheard of." Sorry, but when Pope Saint Gregory The Great made a slight alteration to the Roman Mass, the laity at Rome went berserk.

The Roman laity were so enraged that they threatened to kill Pope Saint Gregory The Great.

In his book "The Reform of the Roman Liturgy: Its Problems and Background" (foreward by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, His Holiness), Monsignor Klaus Gamber
noted that it was commonplace for the Early Church laity to resist liturgical reforms enacted by Popes. Sometimes centuries passed before the laity accept this or that liturgical reform.

Frankly, endless discussions and critiques of Popes and bishops among the laity were akin to today's daily electronic and print coverage of Hollywood celebrities. Such was a form of entertainment to the Early Church laity. Popes, patriarchs and bishops were akin to celebrities to the Early Church Faithful.

During that time, if you did not yap about Churchmen, then you weren't much involved in the life of the Church


Prof. Basto said...

While I agree that the Prefect of the Papal Household serves at the pleasure of the Pope; that the next Pope will be free to choose his own Prefect; that no-one should attempt to bind the next Pope in that regard; and that Archbishop Gänswein should not assume that the Pope will retain him, I would just like to point out that the Prefect of the Papal Household does not lose office during the Sede Vacante.

The Roman Curia is one thing. The Papal Household is another. While heads of dicasteries of the Roman Curia loose their offices upon the start of the Sede Vacante, the Prefect of the Papal Household does not.

The Prefect of the Papal Household is mentioned in articles 19, 28 and 91 of Universi Dominici Gregis, and from those articles it can be seen that he has functions during the Sede Vacante, alongside such officers as the Camerlengo, the members of the Apostolic Chamber, the Substitute of the Secretariat of State, etc.

So, at least during the Sede Vacante, Archbishop Gänswein will indeed retain both roles as personal secretary to the Pope Emeritus and Prefect of the Papal Household, and it is perhaps in this sense that it was announced that he intends to keep both functions.

Without any presumption of attempting to curtail the decision-making powers of the next Pope.

I am not Spartacus said...

Well traditionally, Catholics did not pick apart every word and deed of the Pontiff. It would be completely unheard of.

Dear Judith. Traditionally, we Catholics have never before been faced with innumerable instances of doctrinal novelties and obvious radical ruptures in ecclesiastical praxis.

Just to take one example - the very first official act of Pope Benedict's Papacy was the writing of a letter to the Jews of Rome; and, no, it was not a plea for them to convert.

I think the reactions are all legitimate given the radical novelties to which we have been subjected.

I have yet to read one comment disrespectful of him personally but far worse than what you complain of, in my opinion, is the deference and respect given by The Brick By Brick Bund, and other conservative Catholics, to the post 1962 BCE Popes in all of their radical acts which clearly are radical ruptures and departures from what had been the Doctrines, Norms, and Praxis of our Traditional Catholic past.

It is quite unfair to insist the Laity accept with passivity and sanguinity all of the radical ruptures with the past while allowing to escape criticism those holding the offices of power and authority for that is to blame the powerless victims and exonerate those who are responsible for these most radical changes in our Faith.

Frankly, that is a position more craven than it is commendable.

Ora et Labora said...

Veritas, JCD thank you!!!

D. W. Downey said...

Why not call him the “Extra-ordinary Pope”? Then we can have only one pope in an “Ordinary” and “Extra-ordinary” form!


The Hymn Selector said...

Is Fr. Lombardi contradicting Cardinal Coccopalmerio?

James M said...

Allow me to clarify my remarks (which a number of readers seem to take issue with): I do not begrudge Pope Benedict any of these styles, titles, or perquisites. At all. I love Pope Benedict and none of these distinctions annoy me in the least; it's just the way it's all being done that bugs me. I don't have issue with any of the perquisites, themselves; I merely mean to point out the invalidity of an incumbent making his successor's decisions, that's all.

Since all of these decrees are intended to take effect the moment after the Pope is no longer the Pope, they are incapable of taking effect, at all. The power behind these acts that would make them effective dissolves the instant before they become effective. So they cannot become effective, and rightly so. They are for the succeeding authority to make, not the outgoing authority.

An outgoing absolute authority cannot decided for an incoming absolute authority what that incoming absolute authority will permit.

Now, I'm sure the new pope will allow Benedict to stay at the Vatican and permit him all of these titles and perquisites he's determined he ought to have, but the fact is that until the new pope confirms all of these decisions, they're meaningless, since the power that realizes them dissolves before they would become effective.

That's all I mean to say.

In monte Oliveti said...

"Pope emeritus" is an ontological and theological impossibility. No more than one man is Pope at any given time. When a Pope abdicates, he ceases to be any sort of Pope. Period. He retains the cardinalatial dignity, if he is not stripped of it by his successor or a council, including rights to elect a new Pope, but that is all.

The Pope has created a very dangerous ambiguity, which implies something which is at root contrary to the Faith. The white cassock does not help, either. When a man ceases to be Pope, he loses the right to all papal insignia.

The situation is aggravated by the Pope's last Angelus address, which implies (incorrectly) that the papacy, once accepted, becomes an inalienable, seemingly ontological aspect of the person who is Pope.

If the latter is true (which it cannot be), then Ratzinger remains the true Pope, and the successor would be an antipope.

Once again, we see the grave harms done by Vatican II and the New Theology.

Damask Rose said...

Echo Gratias.

I'm very glad to see the return of PKTP and his insightful comments.

Mr Perkins, you were missed.

Veritas, JCD said...

To In monte oliveti: I suppose that an Archbishop Emeritus, follwing your logic, is also an ontological and theological impossibility as there can't be two archbishops of the same see ? Yet in my diocese I know full well who is the Archbishp...And I suppose that when I wear my white cassock people would think I am weraing papal insignia in the missionary land where I toil ? Please, with all due respect for your feelings, I think it is important not to turn this very simple issue into a dogmatic fight ! Come now...can you not see the simplicity of the Gospel behind His Holiness' action ? He is the Vicar of Christ and I trust in him much mire than in my own opinions...give the man a break. You most probably will never see him again unti he, let us keep things in perspective. Meditate on the words he said today...beautiful and full of light !

JB said...

I must say I agree with In Monte the more I have thought about this. Pope emeritus confuses the office of the papacy. A parting gift from Vatican II I guess. Thanks to you all who were there, the "best and the brightest."

I am not Spartacus said...

Dear In monte Oliveti. Had I the ability to communicate with him, I'd ask the newly elected Pope to invite the exPope in for a bit of a chin wag and let him know I was available, right now, to receive favorably his request that he be known as Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger and then, later in the day, he could return for a brief visit and bring with him his white cassock and shoes etc.

But such things never do happen, do they?

No, we are all just supposed to accept these novelties with alacrity if not standing ovations; that is, the Vatican Two Hierarchy always demands that everyone else changes while they never do.