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Mar 12 14 5:30 AM
Mar 12 14 6:29 AM
Pope Benedict XVI will officially be called “His Holiness Benedict XVI, Pope Emeritus” or simply “Roman pontiff emeritus” after he steps down from the papacy on Thursday. Following Vatican tradition upon the death of a pope, his ”Fisherman’s Ring” also will be destroyed and he will return to wearing his episcopal ring from his time as Cardinal Ratzinger. These were just two of a series of significant aspects concerning the papal resignation and the following interregnum disclosed by the Vatican today. Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told reporters the Holy Father had chosen his new title after consulting with others. Contrary to recent reports, he said the Pope preferred not to use the title “Bishop Emeritus of Rome” that some had predicted, including a senior Vatican canonist. The Vatican disclosed that in retirement, the Pope would also wear a simple white cassock but without the mozzetta (elbow-length cape). And instead of red shoes, he will wear brown ones he was given last year in León, Mexico, a city “famous for beautiful and comfortable shoes.” ...... His aides are currently packing his belongings; those related to his office as Pope he will leave behind for his successor, while files from his time as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith are being sorted and packed......
Pope Emeritus” or “Emeritus Roman Pontiff”: these are the titles Benedict XVI chose for himself at the end of his pontificate. This is according to Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi, who reported Benedict XVI’s decision communicated to him by the former Pope’s personal secretary, Georg Gänswein. But in an article published in Civiltà Cattolica, one of Italy’s oldest Catholic periodicals, Canonist Gianfranco Ghirlanda suggested a more suitable title would be “Bishop Emeritus of Rome”. Other Canonists preferred the term “former Pope”, added to the name Joseph Ratzinger, scrapping the papal name Benedict XVI which is linked to the papal acts of his eight years as leader of the Catholic Church. This issue of Civiltà Cattolica never reached news stands so the public was only informed of Ratzinger’s choice. But no one has quite realised the implications of the existence of a Pope and a “Pope Emeritus”. Benedict XVI cleared the field of any potential objections, by pledging complete respect and obedience to his successor, whoever this turned out to be. The fact remains, however, that the outgoing Pope is no longer Pope, regardless of whether he continues to give his whole life in service to the Church, through intercessory prayer, “hidden from the world.” “He who gives up the papal ministry for any reason other than death, remains a bishop of course, but is no longer pope as he loses all primatial power because he did not gain this through Episcopal consecration but directly from Christ, after his legitimate election,” Fr. Ghirlanda wrote. If we go by this statement, attributing the title of Pope, albeit Emeritus, to Joseph Ratzinger is problematic. Referring to him as “former Pope” or “former Roman Pontiff” is quite different. These definitions clearly indicate that Ratzinger has renounced the papacy definitively as they contain a reference to the past. “Pope Emeritus” on the other hand risks insinuating he is a second Pope. (Which is what Antono Socci suggested)One gets the impression that little reflection was given to Ratzinger’s current title, from both a canonistic and theological point of view. It is not Ratzinger’s resignation that is being questioned, which is in compliance with the Code of Canon Law, but the need for careful reflection when thinking about how the former pope fits into the Holy See framework now.
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Canon Lawyers pointed out irregularities with the title Pope Emeritus. There was no precedent for such a title. The few popes who had previously left office had reverted to their own names and left the trappings of the papacy when they left the office.Election to the papacy is not equivalent to being ordained priest or bishop. Ordination and Consecration are sacraments which bring about a fundamental change. A man is priest or a bishop for ever. When, after V II, a retirement age was imposed on bishops, they could rightly claim the title Bishop Emeritus. The office of Pope is not the same. The charism is in the office and not the person and this is why canon lawyers expressed reservations. It is also how the disaffected made a case for claiming Benedict was still Pope.Sandro Magister published an article written by a canon lawyer on 9 March 2013. It is quite detailed but worth reading by those who would like to grasp what the implications of the title “Pope Emeritus” are and how it can be claimed that this, by default rather than by design, has created a new “institution”. Some even claim that this has made a fundamental change to the office of Pope.It isn't the word "Emeritus" which matters - it is the combination - "Pope Emeritus" - and the office of the Successor of Peter cannot be compared with the role of a professor, or doctor or other professional person. It is unique. Neither is it a question of "showing respect" or of being unkind to Benedict. This isn't an emotional issue.From Sandro Magister 9 March 2013
It is true that the director of the Vatican press office, Federico Lombardi, has authorized and encouraged the use of the formula: “His Holiness Benedict XVI pope emeritus.”But it is also true that he has done so in an informal way, in speech alone, according to him simply “at the indication of Don Georg," the personal secretary of the one who has renounced the papacy. Too little and too vague for the question to be considered closed.In affirmation of the enduring uncertainty, on February 28, three days after the statement by Fr. Lombardi, "La Civiltà Cattolica," the magazine of the Rome Jesuits that is printed after review and authorization by the Vatican secretariat of state, has come out with a long and sophisticated article on the “Cessation of the office of the Roman pontiff,” written by the illustrious canonist Gianfranco Ghirlanda, a former rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University, that absolutely rules out the idea that one who has renounced the office could continue to be referred to as “pope.”At a certain point, Fr. Ghirlanda writes:"It is evident that the pope who has resigned is no longer pope, and therefore no longer has any authority in the Church and cannot interfere in any matter of governance. One might wonder what title Benedict XVI will retain. We think that he should be given the title of bishop emeritus of Rome, like any other diocesan bishop who steps down."And in the final paragraph:"To deal at some length with the question of the relationship between the acceptance of legitimate election and episcopal consecration, and therefore of the origin of the authority of the Roman pontiff, has been necessary precisely in order to understand more deeply that the one who ceases from the pontifical ministry not because of death, although evidently remaining bishop is pope no longer, in that he loses all of the authority of primacy, because this did not come to him from episcopal consecration, but directly from Christ through the acceptance of legitimate election.”
PAPACY, SEDE VACANTE, AND "POPE EMERITUS." AMBIGUITIES TO BE AVOIDEDby Carlo Fantappiè
The renunciation of Benedict XVI has prompted various vaticanistas to style themselves as Church historians or theologians of the papacy. The principal newspapers have contained glaring errors into which even representatives of the academic world have fallen (1). But above all the novelty of the act has been used as a point of departure for bringing back into discussion or prognosticating the crisis of the Petrine office.There have been some who have spoken of a modernization of the papacy, which would be transformed from a permanent institution into an institution with a fixed term. Some who have taken the opportunity to bring up the necessity of reform of the papal office by integrating it with other collegial organisms. Some who have hazarded to speak of the end of a model of governance and of a conception of the papacy.There have also been, on the other side, some who have not accepted the present renunciation even as an exceptional decision, because they see the “sacredness" of the pope as being stripped away, and some who even maintain that papal resignations are simply impossible on the metaphysical and mystical level, because the acceptance of election would place the elect on a different ontological level (2). (Some conservatives operate on this level and Socci sounds close to this position)It is evident that the renunciation of Benedict XVI has raised grave problems about the constitution of the Church, about the nature of the primacy of the pope in addition to the scope and extension of his powers after the cessation of office.Before speaking of a “redefinition” of the papacy, however, it would be necessary to take into account its complex theological and canonical elaboration.*In the first place it must be said that the papacy is an office occupied by a person and not, properly speaking, a person who occupies an office, even if he becomes its proprietor.As Max Weber recognizes, canon law has the distinction of having transformed the “personal charism” into the “charism of office.” Carl Schmitt would add that in these conceptual repartitions “lies the rational creative force of Catholicism and, at the same time, its humanity.”“Person” and “office” in the material constitution of the Church must be distinguishable. This is also the condition in order that “with one pope dead another can be made,” or that a pope can, in truly exceptional cases and for the greater good of the Church, “renounce the office” without falling into grave sin before God.This distinction also makes clear the attribution of sacrality, infallibility, and the other jurisdictional and honorific prerogatives. In that they stem from the office (to be more precise: from the authority of governance which is different from the simple authority of orders, even if it is inseparable from this latter), these prerogatives are lost completely with death or eventual renunciation.In the same way must be considered overcome, according to constant canonical doctrine, the thesis advanced by the traditionalists concerning the impossibility of the renunciation of the papacy.A noteworthy clarification of this point came, not by coincidence, from the arguments adopted by Olivi or by Egidio Romano against the theses of the cardinals Colonna following the resignation of Celestine V.It must be remembered in fact that the person of the pope is not invested with an indelible character, because the office of which he is proprietor does not represent a fourth degree of sacred orders after the episcopate, nor is the pope a bishop superior to the others in terms of his power of orders. (This is an important point)The one who is elected bishop of Rome (this is the efficient cause of the papacy) succeeds in the office that was first occupied by the apostle Peter and therefore “inherits” the powers of governance or of jurisdiction conferred on this latter directly by Christ as pastor of the whole Church. *But the papal renunciation opens a second question, that of the vacuum of power in the Church. It is only by reasoning on the source of this power of the pope and of that of the episcopal college that one can define in the correct way the unique character of the papal function and the limits of his power.In order to do this it is essential to avoid a twofold confusion that appears in the language of contemporary commentators.The first confusion is between the canonical organization and the dynastic system, according to which the papacy would be an absolute hereditary monarchy in which each pope would succeed his predecessor instead of Peter.In this way the powers of a new pope would be limited by the decisions of the previous one, something that is not admitted, and there would be raised the theoretical possibility, which we will see is unfounded, of appointing his successor.The second confusion is between the canonical system and the representative democratic system, according to which the pope would receive a sort of mandate from the Church, in the form of the assembly of all the bishops (ecumenical council), or from a representative body (synod of bishops), or from the college of cardinals that for almost a millennium has enjoyed confidentiality about his election.Catholic doctrine affirms, instead, that the pope is invested with his power of primacy, in the twofold level of head of the episcopal college and head of the Church, directly from Christ through acceptance of the legitimate election made by the organ of the college of cardinals. This means that this latter is understood as an organ of the divine will. In fact, it loses all of its power after fulfilling its task.In its turn, the college of bishops derives its own powers from the apostolic college, but cannot exercise them independently of its head, because the college "does not exist without its head" (Vatican Council II, "Nota explicativa praevia").Therefore, during the time of the vacant apostolic see the college of bishops or a representative body of it cannot perform acts proper to this college. A council or a synod of bishops in course is not dissolved, but remains suspended "ipso iure" pending the decision of the new pope. To the college of cardinals and not to other possible institutions is entrusted the governance of the Church for the handling of ordinary or non-postponable affairs, with the clarification that the cardinals have no authority over matters that are the responsibility of the Roman pontiff, including the rules for the election of the new pope........
A Church with Two Popes
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Mar 13 14 5:29 AM
Interesting as those two previous articles are, they were written a year ago and matters have clarified somewhat since then. Pope Benedict has found a very acceptable modus vivendi as Emeritus Pope
I don't understand why people have so much trouble with Benedict XVI's retirement arrangements and the new institution of the Pope Emeritus. In my opinion, the title reflects perfectly his present reality.
And of course, he cannot allow himself to become a focus for people unhappy with the reigning pontiff.
That is why Archbishop Gaenswein constantly stresses the deep continuity beneath the external differences. And why Benedict himself assures Hans Kueng and us of his "unity of vision and heart-felt friendship" with Pope Francis.
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