What does an ex-Pope do anyway? And what do we call him?

It’s been over 600 years since the world has had a living ex-Pope. And on the evening of February 28, we’ll have one. John Allen of The National Catholic Reporter says he’ll likely be called the Emeritus Bishop of Rome.

As Pope, Benedict has been controversial on many levels, not least because before his Papacy he sat atop the Church council that enabled the scandals of pedophile priests to remain secret.

Interesting times ahead. And will Catholicism finally see its first non-European Pope??

23 responses to “What does an ex-Pope do anyway? And what do we call him?

  1. The guy takes a vacation and says someone ELSE can handle the Cathloic Church….

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  2. This is probably best for everyone involved. If Ratzinger is too old and sick to properly perform his papal duties, it’s in his best interest (and that of the church) to retire.

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    • That he has actually done it Ahab, suggests that in the future it may be more common. For instnace, Pope’s didn’t used to live long enough to become senile, but today it’s proably a consideration in making a decision llike htis.

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  3. Ratzinger will be 86 in April – way, way past time in my opinion for anyone to be in an important job. I’ve always found it absurd that people should have job security “for life”, like popes and Supreme Court justices. The notion that anyone can’t be replaced just doesn’t wash, and that includes overpaid CEO’s.

    Interesting that he’s setting a 700 year-old precedent. One assumes he has consulted God on this move. So, did God change his mind after 700 years of consistency? Man, I just can’t count on anything being the same anymore!

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  4. I think he must have seen the amazing documentary MEA MAXIMA CULPA on HBO this weekend or at least read about it in Andrew Sullivan’s column. The noose was tightening.

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  5. Isn’t it fair to say that the pedophilia scandel reached a boil well before John-Paul II ‘departed’. Much of the worst activity must have happened 30-50 years ago as well.

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    • Like CEO’s, popes should don the vestment of responsibility. Benedict’s sin is that of denial – the evidence was there. But, like any effective CEO, his primary objective was always that of growth over contrition. Ecce homo!

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    • I hope this doesn’t offend, Bruce, but if you’re the supreme ruler of a huge group of people and you find out your organization is rotten in its definition, there is no excuse for not taking decisive and immediate action. None.

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    • I think Jim has it exactly right Bruce – but another factor is that before Benedict was Pope, he headed the Vatican office where these issues landed and is personally guilty of protecting priests and ignoring vicitms. Terrirble terrible record.

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  6. Who cares why? Let’s all just hope (and pray) we get someone who is in touch with reality. Another Pope John XXIII. But my hopes are not high!
    (And the pedophilia is just one of the things Catholics like me have against this guy.)

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    • Hey Pat – the Church has moved so far from John XXIII it’s almost hard to beleive he ever existed – but today’s conservative Church arose specifically as opposition to the reforms of Vatican II which they found to be horrifying and, gasp, modern!!!

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  7. I guess he’s just too pooped to Pope.

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  8. I know, Moe. I grew up in those times. But do I not remember that Roncalli was a huge surprise when he got in to office? Then with Paul, the pendulum back. Then, pendulum looked like it was going back with John Paul I ….. John Paul II was supposed to be a midpoint and was, for a while, until he got old & grumpy.

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  9. I want an Australian Pope! Maybe then he’ll use his influence to get some rugby on American TV. Sorry, I’m not Catholic and have no idea on ex-Pope protocols but I’m trying to catch up on my posting as I’ve been out for a bit 🙂

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  10. I’m sure you’ve seen the joke. . . call him Breakfast. Ex-Benedict.

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