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Monday, February 25, 2013

POPE Resignation: Controversial QUESTIONS - ANSWERED!

Pope Benedict XVI stunned the world by announcing his resignation effective Feb. 28, 2013. He will be the first pope to step down since Gregory XII in 1415. His resignation raises several controversial questions; popular ones selectively picked from the web here and answered:

"Will he still be infallible after resignation?"

At Vatican Council I, above, Pius IX defined papal infallibility as a dogma.
No—and in fact, he’s never been infallible. In accordance with the First Vatican Council of 1870, the pope is infallible only when he makes an ex cathedra statement—that is, a statement concerning “a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church.” Most popes never make ex cathedra statements during their papacy; only one infallible statement (regarding the Assumption of Mary) has been made since the First Vatican Council of 1870. Pope John XXIII was quoted as saying, “I am only infallible if I speak infallibly but I shall never do that, so I am not infallible.” Pope Benedict XVI has never spoken ex cathedra, and he will lose the ability to do so once he resigns from the papacy.

“What will be done with the papal ring used to seal important documents, traditionally destroyed upon a pope’s death?”

The 2013 conclave opens against the context of the 1415 papal resignation, when Gregory XI shucked off his Annulus Piscatoris. Over the last 598 years, every pontiff died with his ring on.The Annulus Piscatoris (Ring of the Fisherman) depicts a bas-relief of Peter fishing from a boat.  Pope Clement IV first mentioned this signet in a 1265 letter and  popes used it to seal official documents until 1842.
“It will be ‘terminated,’” Vatican spokesperson Federico Lombardi, SJ. said. A pope’s ring is shattered on his death—or resignation. In the presence of other cardinals, the camerlengo or  temporary  administrator slips the ring from the deceased pontiff’s finger, then smashes it to bits.

"How is the former pope to be addressed?"

Should we still call him Benedict XVI, or go back to being Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger? 

He can’t be called Benedict or “Your Holiness.” He puts aside his white cassock and, since he is over 80, he cannot attend the conclave. We don’t know yet what name he’ll go by. Pope Gregory XII (born Angelo Correr) continued to be known as Gregory until his death in 1417. 

Benedict will definitely remain a bishop until his death, since becoming a bishop is a sacrament, and even bishops who are removed from office aren't stripped of that title.We also don’t know whether Benedict will become a cardinal again as we won’t automatically revert to being cardinal—he would have to be reappointed cardinal by his successor. There is some precedent for this to happen-  Pope Gregory XII  as appointed cardinal upon his abdication.

"Where will he lodge?"

The Mater Ecclesiae monastery is 4,300 square feet and lies just west of St. Peter’s Basilica.the place
where Pope Benedict XVI  will retire to a life of prayer. Credit: File Photo/ EWTN News.
from catholicismpure.wordpress.com
He’ll move to the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo, the pope’s summer residence. Castel Gandolfo is a resort town on Lake Albano near RomeAfterward, he’ll move to Mater Ecclesiae monastery -a monastery of nuns in the Vatican for which renovation work is on going.

Vatican sources said three concerns were factored into the decision that Benedict retire to a Vatican convent: (a) Vatican police will guarantee his privacy and security; (b) seclusion in a monastery—in Germany, for example—would spur visitors; and (c) a pope’s potential exposure to legal claims over sexual abuse scandals.
The 1929 Lateran Pacts between Italy and the Holy See established Vatican City as a sovereign state. It provides that Vatican City would be “invariably and in every event considered as neutral and inviolable territory.”

"What kind of retirement benefits does the pope have?" 

Since no pope has retired in almost 600 years, there is no formal retirement plan for popes. However, as a bishop (and possibly a cardinal), Benedict will continue to have access to the Vatican’s lavish healthcare plan with private doctors currently managing his medical treatment. The pope does not officially receive a salary, though his needs are seen to by the Holy See. Canon law requires each diocese to provide support and housing for its priests after they retire, though the details of priests’ and bishops’ pension plans vary from country to country.

"Will he have any say in choosing his successor?"

Officially, no. Pope Benedict XVI will not participate in the papal conclave to elect the next pope. (For one thing, as previously mentioned, he may not revert to being a cardinal. For another thing, he’s too old to take part in the papal enclave—only cardinals under the age of 80 may vote.) However, Pope Benedict appointed 67 of the 118 members of the College of Cardinals who are currently eligible to participate in the election of the next pope. This means that Benedict will have had at least an indirect influence over the election.

What about the rights of Cardinal Ratzinger to speak and write upon retirement?

Cardinal Ratzinger has a right to speak and write. In practice, anything he says or writes will be examined by media to see if it conflicts with anything the new pope says.
“It’s unheard of. It gives the impression that Benedict will be keeping an eye on his successor,” Robert Mickens, Vatican correspondent for The Tablet, said. “It puts a lot of pressure on the new Pope and people around him. It’s opened up a can of worms.”
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