When I first heard the news this morning, I thought it was a prank–like those early released obits for popes and presidents. He couldn’t be resigning. WE haven’t had a resignation in 600 years, and a voluntary one since the 13th century.
And yet, it’s true. Our pope is resigning, stepping down to be a monk within the Vatican walls for the rest of his life.
I am sure this decision was made with much prayer and much interior searching. His brother said that the pope told him months ago that he would resign. He has craved a private life, with his books and prayer, for many years now.
I am, of course, praying for him, and for the College of Cardinals, who will now have to elect the new pope.
A few notes:
- It is properly an “abdication”, like a king, not a resignation.
- The abdication takes effect at 8 PM on February 28, 2013. Then we will enter the sede vacant–the period where there will be no pope. We will not pray for the pope in the Eucharistic prayer at Mass.
- The conclave looks to convene around March 9 or 10, meaning we’ll have a Pope by Holy Week.
- The legal questions involved
- B XVI will be called “bishop of Rome emeritus”
- Conclave notes and what’s to come one and two.
This is one area where the MSM is truly lost. A conclave (from the Latin, “with a key”) is moved by the Holy Spirit. There is no canvassing. We can’t see the ballots, and the electors are sworn to silence about it. “He who comes in a pope, exits a cardinal,” is a maxim for a reason.
I’ll try to keep links and updates added as they develop.
My sense of shock went deep, and it took me awhile to figure out why. Then I found it: because, like JPII, BXVI has been a HUGe figure in my religious life. He is a theological giant, and before he was pope, he was head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), so he was often in the spotlight. He was written so much. He and JPII were always in the forefront of my religious upbringing–and now they are both gone, JPII to death and B XVI to the silence of a monastic life.
Who will emerge as the new Pope?