It was with shock that we all heard the news on Monday 11 February 2013 about the sudden resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. There had been no rumours of his resignation, no public call for his resignation – it was with prayerful consideration and no outside pressure that he chose this option, which has not been exercised for over 600 years.
The road less travelled…
In the Catholic tradition we’ve often seen the Pope as someone who stays in the position until death. We have cited that his ability to pray and lead the Church spiritually is something that can be continued until death. For hundreds of years this has been the case, and the frail elderly men pass away in the papal position whilst others maintain the workings of the Church.
So, why is it so strange that no one has chosen to resign before?
Pope Benedict XVI
has taken the opportunity to exercise the Code of Canon Law #332, which allows for the resignation of a Pope. We can only guess why he has taken the road less travelled, but we must support him through this decision with our prayers for him and prayers for the College of Cardinals as they gather shortly for the election of a new Pope.
The conclave is the election process of a new Pope and in upcoming newsletters we will keep you updated with the process for this. But in short, Cardinals who are under 80 will vote (yes, that includes Cardinal Pell –
Archbishop of Sydney) – they will remain locked in the Vatican & the Sistine Chapel for prayer, discussions and voting until a decision is reached. Each ballot will be burnt and smoke will be released from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel. White smoke is released when they have made a two-thirds majority vote then the Latin words ‘Habemus Papam’ – ‘we have a new Pope’ are announced.
So a few small questions still remain, and no doubt the answers will come about through further media releases…
What do we call him when he resigns? Emeritus, Cardinal…., Benedict, Joseph??
What will he do when he retires?
The best places to
follow for reliable news are Vatican news sources – from Vatican.va and we will keep the CYM Facebook page and twitter news feed up to date with news as we find it. We’ve included links to a few good stories for you to read in the newsletter.
The big question… who will our next Pope be?
No matter who our next Pope will be, I will be there with our Perth Bishops, young people from Perth AND the youth of the world to welcome him in Rio at World Youth Day in July! So we look forward to meeting him, and we continue to pray for the Cardinals and Pope Benedict XVI at this time.