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Terra cognita! Answers to 10 questions

The BBC has compiled answers to 10 of the top questions about the resignation of "His Holiness, Benedict XVI, Pope Emeritus."Shorter version:His Holiness will be Fisherman's Ring-less and red shoe-less, but will continue to wear papal white (in simpler styles). He will have no official duties. He will move into the convent after about 3 months, where he will spend retirement reading, writing, playing piano, eating locally-sourced organic marmalade, and playing with Contessina (a cat). He will bring along excellent medical care and Archbishop Georg Ganswein, but he will leave behind his Twitter handle (@Pontifex) and his infallibility (@assumption1950?).Longer version is here.

About the Author

Michael Peppard is associate professor of theology at Fordham University, author of The World's Oldest Church and The Son of God in the Roman World, and on Twitter @MichaelPeppard.



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So AB Ganswein "will be the servant of two masters."Such would seem problematic to me.

The Vatican has let it be known that he will be referred to as Pope Emeritus. I know the odds are very slim, but should I be elected the next pope, I am considering the name Pope Emeritus II.

Wasn't one of those fellows who resigned back in the middle ages a bit of a hermit in his spirituality? Would he have been Eremitus Emeritus?

The ring ... OK. But the Red Shoes .... that's CRUEL!

Jimmy, even Dorothy couldn't stay in Oz forever...

The papal gold ring, known as the fisherman's ring, will be smashed with a specially designed silver hammer when the Pope leaves office. No change here from normal practice. "Objects strictly tied to the ministry of St Peter must be destroyed," the Vatican says.Did St. Peter wear a fisherman's ring in his ministry? How was it destroyed? Shouldn't living popes be allowed to keep theirs? Super Bowl and World Series rings have supported profligate athletes in their old age. Who knows what will happen to the Pope Emeritus's pension if the Vatican banks are ever fully investigated by the sharks circling them now?

How about an answer to number 11. Is the convent now disbanded? I understand the sisters would rotate there, but will there no longer be contemplative nuns there?I like the red shoes, too. But tangerine and turquoise are pretty hot now, maybe he could get some shoes in those colors.

Jim P:I think it would be eremita emeritus.

He should NOT stay in Rome. This is vanity and hubris. His pontificate and his entire Vatican career have been a bane for Catholicism and his idea that a continuation of that baneful influence would be good for his successor is typical of his vanity and control freakery.

Imagine this scene:Pope Dolan:

Pope Dolan: "Well, Fellow Holiness, I've called you here today on a delicate matter. I am asking you to withdraw from Rome, to a life of prayer in your beloved Bavaria."Pope Ratzinger: "But I created you. How can you do this to me? Do you not benefit from my counsel and my gracious aura?"Pope Dolan: "By all means keep in touch by Twitter, but I would remind you that I am now your supreme superior. I do not want the shadow of the past to hang over the new regime I am inaugurating."Pope Ratzinger: "But you need the European polish that my presence provides. The Church is not ready for an undiluted American pontificate;"Pope Dolan: "Listen up, buddy. I am telling you to go; So go!"

Of course the nuns will still be there - he'll need someone to do the scut work.

But, did Pope Dolan invite the Pope Emeritus in for brats and beer when this conversation was held?If The Tim gets elected (humor me) the Johnsonville Bratwurst factory will have to go into overtime to keep up with the shipments to 1 Papal Place c/o the Vatican kitchens.Those Swiss Guards had better stay away from brats, though, or they will never fit into those Michaelangelo-designed pantaloons.

Crystal: I thought that is why he will have his very own captive Archbishop in residence ... you know: lite housekeeping, sandwich lunches, washing out of smallclothes, etc.

Geez, I thought it was mostly Protestants who revel in Weird Popish Rumor and Lore. If Benedict XVI has decided to live a life of silence a prayer out of the public eye, who's gonna know what color his shoes are? Who's gonna care? I'm glad he'll have a kitty cat. I'm glad there'll be kindly women to take care of him. The man has wielded big power and influence in his lifetime. And has probably fallen into some pretty big sins along the way. May he have time to contemplate his failings and repent. May God offer him the same mercies we all hope to receive.

Ratzinger/Benedict is nothing if not principled. I can't imagine his not using his great powers of articulation to influence his successor mightily given the chance, and living in his successor's back yard is a big, big chance. Bad, bad move. He should play dead. Or at least stay in Castel Gandolfo for three years.Bp. Ganswein's keeping both positions is, I think, a strong indication that both Benedict and some of the cardinals *want* him to maintain his influence. Or maybe just Gorgeous George himself manipulated the whole link? He's definitely one to keep our eyes on in the future, aside from the fact he's so beautiful:-)

"Ratzinger/Benedict is nothing if not principled." Neat irony here -- principled in the deadly sense of Bush and Blair, whose anniversaries occur.His running of the CDF infringed principles of justice and decency.His ideological investments often make him slanted and unscholarly in his writing.He has very narrow principles of piety and orthodoxy that make him see heresy everywhere except in his beloved rightwing groupuscules, the world David Berger exposed and of which il bel Giorgio is a perfect produce. There is a lack of soundness here that is the result of unprincipled choice.

Jean - amen.

Will old and new popes share Castel Gandolfo during the summer months? Separate dining rooms? And what if the new pope is allergic to cats?

I don't think soon-to-be Pope Timothy is allergic to cats. He seemed to enjoy the homeless animals he blessed on St. Francis's day. I don't think he will ask his guests at Castel Gandolfo to eat in a different room. That would be weird.

We should not ignore the symbolism of this whole transition. Supreme Pontiff with all his trappings now goes temporarily to lavish vacation home of popes. Then he will return to specifically built quarters just for him with lavish care and attendants. The head of the church, Jesus, was shamefully crucified before two thieves. He never had all these attendants and always served rather than served. The trappings of the papacy remains a prodigious scandal to the Crucified Jesus who insisted that the leaders should serve and that the last should be first. To boot. All these compromised Cardinals going to Rome which now becomes a conclave of shame. This is not a good time for the RCC.

"All these compromised Cardinals going to Rome" is a good segue to this:

Jean, amen indeed. *Castel Gandalfo sounds like a temporary expedient. (Benedict may never go back, for all we know.)*Benedict will be living in a renovated convent; that convent, from its founding, was a place for rotating groups of nuns from different places and orders to spend a few years at a time. There is no permanent community there, never has been.*it sounds as if Benedict's household will be primarily the same Italian consecrated women (Memores Domini, part of the Communion and Liberation movement) who have been working for him. No German nuns ...*I suspect the set up of having Abp Ganswein doing double duty may also be temporary. If Benedict had died, the prefect of the papal household would be expected to help the new pope get his household in place, and his schedule organized. Ganswein can do that, help create a smooth transition, save him all kinds of wasted time and energy. And if the new pope then chooses to replace him, that's his prerogative. The new pope will be setting precedent in how he treats his retired predecessor (and that predecessor's closest aides). That could affect how real an option retirement will seem to popes in the future.Somehow I can't envision Jesus minding if we are kind to elders who have given much, over many years. If tradition is right, he didn't have the chance to worry about it, with his own foster-father Joseph. But he ensured that his mother would be cared for. find myself hoping that the new pope has had some experience dealing with the care of aged parents or grandparents, a beloved mentor, or elders in a religious community.

I'm not against being kind but I can't help thinking of the people that were hurt on B16's watch. Fr. Roy Bourgeois, for instance, is elderly too and after 40 years of being an award winning priest, he has no nice monastery to retire to.

Crystal, what a great idea! Put Fr Roy Bourgeois and Pope Benedict together in the same living quarters, and see how they show us charity and unity by their example!

"Somehow I cant envision Jesus minding if we are kind to elders who have given much, over many years. If tradition is right, he didnt have the chance to worry about it, with his own foster-father Joseph. But he ensured that his mother would be cared for."What about the deprived in India and Africa which we further deprive by paying for their priests to go Italy, here and other rich countries?

Claire,Hee :) the possibilities abound.

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