Monday, February 11, 2013

Live Blogging on the papal resignation:

There are a couple of live blogs dedicated to the papal resignation, if anyone is interested

I've pulled the following tidbits:

ODDS ON SUCCESSOR: Odds comparison site can reveal that bookmakers are split on who to name as the early favourite.

Francis Arinze, the Nigerian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church and Peter Turkson, the Ghanian Cardinal, are both listed at best price odds of 4/1 and as short as 2/1 with some firms.

Marc Ouellet, the Canadian Cardinal, is as short 5/2 but also available at 6/1 with Coral. Whilst English Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor is 150/1.

ELECTION PROCEDURE: The Vatican summons a conclave of cardinals that must begin 15 to 20 days after Benedict's February 28 resignation.

• Any baptised Roman Catholic male is eligible for election as pope, but only cardinals have been selected since 1378.

• Two ballots held each morning and two each afternoon in the Sistine Chapel. A two-thirds majority is required.

• Ballots are burned after each round. Black smoke means no decision; white smoke signals that cardinals have chosen a pope and he has accepted.

• Bells also signal the election of a pope to help avoid possible confusion over colour of smoke coming from chimney of the Sistine Chapel.

• The new pope is introduced from the loggia overlooking St. Peter's Square with the words "Habemus Papam!" (Latin for "We have a pope!") and he imparts his first blessing.

HISTORY: Just four other Popes in history have resigned from their post as head of the Catholic church.

• Marcellinus: This early church pope abdicated or was deposed in 304 after complying with the Roman emperor's order to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods.

• Benedict IX: Sold the papacy to his godfather Gregory VI and resigned in 1045.

• Celestine V: Overwhelmed by the demands of the office, this hermetic pontiff stepped down after five months as pope in 1294. Pope Benedict XVI prayed at his tomb in the central Italian city of L'Aquila in 2009.

• Gregory XII: The last pope to resign, Gregory XII stepped down in 1415 to help end a church schism.

The pope's brother, Georg Ratzinger, said the pontiff had been advised by his doctor not to take any more transatlantic trips and had been considering stepping down for months.

Talking from his home in Regensburg, Germany, to the news agency dpa, Mr. Ratzinger said his brother was having increasing difficulty walking and that his resignation was part of a "natural process."

"His age is weighing on him," the 89-year-old said of his 85-year-old brother. "At this age my brother wants more rest."

Mr. Ratzinger didn't answer his telephone for calls seeking further comment.


  1. Maybe they should stop voting geriatrics into office. They need someone young and virile...Dave Armstrong.

    1. The Real Pope:

    2. I give him credit for stepping down when he no longer felt up to the job, unlike his predecessor, who hung on pigheadedly long after he was enfeebled by age and illness. This shows a commendable modesty on Ratzinger's part. He's not driven by ambition above all else.

      And he was never temperamentally suited to the job. He's an essentially shy, retiring scholar, not a public figure. He lacks the common touch.

      However, he may also be doing this to influence the succession. Will he be present at the conclave? He has an advantage, which dead popes lack, to leverage the process.

    3. The "Press Briefing" below says he won't take part in the conclave. But you're right, it's still an opportunity to exercise influence.

      This could be a whole new beginning of a kind of "papal politicking".

    4. Steve, you called it:

      "The papacy can now be clearly seen as a crucial office of the universal church, but one in which the pope remains an officeholder, rather than an irreplaceable, magical figure. I’d bet €20, if the Vatican could accept credit cards, that Benedict is doing this with a great deal of conscious awareness of the ecclesiological, and not just the practical, implications for future papacies. The precedent may well be his greatest gift to the church."

  2. And he was never temperamentally suited to the job. He's an essentially shy, retiring scholar, not a public figure. He lacks the common touch.

    A little like Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones.

    Let's not feed the charismatic leader craze. Conviction over charisma any day.

    1. One doesn't have to be charismatic to be a people person or have the common touch. Social skills are important to pastoral office.

      Moreover, the pope is, by definition, a public figure. An international celebrity. It's not like the small-town pastor of a local church. Media savvy in the media age is important to be an effective, influential pontiff. Of course, I don't believe in the papacy to begin with.

    2. The papacy is, by definition, a personality cult. Indeed, by becoming pope, Ratzinger guaranteed an audience for his writings that he'd never have as a cardinal.

  3. Kidding aside, the trend of choosing non-Italians as pope is curious. I wonder if there's any sort of intention behind it, or whether it's simple happenstance.

  4. Perhaps he thought about JPII, with all the attention that was given to the end of his life. I'm not saying JPII wanted it, but I guess it seems inevitable in the era of 24/7 news coverage.

    I'm not sure what is so bad about a pope w/o the media touch. The pontificate of JP2 didn't seem great for the church. Maybe a pope who manages things from Rome and doesn't seek the attention of the world (the endless visits to foreign countries, the notorious Assisi events for example) would be nice for a change.