Daily Archives: January 3, 2023

Abdication: Instructions For Use

“A Capuchin cassock will do admirably, Father Benedict…”

If Francis wants to do something good for the Church, once in his lifetime, he could do worse than to issue detailed instructions as to what happens when a Pope resigns. Of course, I understand that the Pope who wants to resign could change the rules anyway; but I think that such an established procedure would bring clarity to the event.

Naturally, best is that a Pope does not abdicate. However, in cases of diseases like Alzheimer’s it would, I think, still be preferable that the pope abdicates, rather than having the Church run by the most aggressive. bullying homo mafias among the several likely infesting the Vatican. There is, after all, a reason why a Pope has always been allowed to abdicate.

If Francis were to ask me how this should be done, I would suggest the following:

A. The Pope who resigns should join a monastery of his choice, with the proviso that the choice can be changed at any time by his successor(s).

B. The Pope who resigns should renounce every title, every pomp, and every privilege. He should live a life of poverty in some isolated monastery. He should be forbidden from giving interviews. If he writes books or memoirs, these should not be published during his lifetime. His successor would be able to, at any time, order him to become a proper, cloistered monk.

Fra’ Benedetto. Boy, it sounds nice.

C. Upon his death, the abdicated Pope should receive the rank and the protocol ceremonies of a Cardinal.

In my opinion, such rules would, as far as reasonable, engender the following:

  1. Prevent the birth of pathetic excuses, like “he did not made the right gestures/ he had a bad stomach / he did not pronounce the words correctly, so his abdication isn’t valid”. Of course, those who want to reject reality will always reject reality, but an established procedure and the unequivocal demotion would make it far more difficult to deceive oneself in this respect.
  2. Put an end to the clearly confusing and damaging show of two men in white, merely because the former guy really wants to keep, in a modified form, his accustomed title. Not anymore. If you want to go, you’re gone. You don’t get to keep the white habit after skirting the responsibilities that come with it.
  3. Give the deceased former Pope a farewell that, whilst reflecting the old rank in a reasonable way, leaves no doubt as to who is Pope (hint: the new guy).

It really should be a no-brainer: a Pope who abdicates would, methinks, do so because he is not fit for the office anymore, and wants to spend the rest of the time allotted to him in prayer. A formal procedure and set of rules minimises the disruption and creates an established pattern of having only one guy in white. If a Pope changes the procedure because, say, he wants to be Pontiff Emeritus, his successor will be well able to change it again, and have the guy lock himself in a cloister with the title of “Father XY”.

We will see whether Francis deals with the issue or prefers to just ignore it once the pesky, very near presence of Benedict has gone.

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