Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Papal Abdication & New TItle
Today the National Catholic Reporter announced that Benedict XVI in one of his final acts as pope has awarded himself the honorific title of “His Holiness Benedict XVI Roman Pontiff Emeritus.” Benedict will continue to wear his white cassock but will forego his red Prada slippers in favor of a simple pair of brown shoes presented to him in Mexico. He will reside in exile in the Vatican. He will reside temporarily beginning this Thursday at the papal summer residence in the mountains outside of Rome until his permanent residence, or as permanent a residence as an 85 year old in failing health, both physical and mental, can have located in a newly refurbished convent inside the walls of Vatican City now referred to as a monastery because it will be inhabited only by the “pontiff emeritus” and I presume his staff.
In little more than 48 hours the Cardinal Camerlengo will repossess Benedict's gold ring and seal and declare the See of Rome to be 'sede vacante.' That official will then summon the 115 cardinal electors to Rome to select his successor. This summons is mostly a formality since the cardinals are already in Rome politicking for themselves or their favorite candidates. There are 117 cardinals under age 80 and who are therefore entitled to participate and vote in the coming conclave. Two have announced that they will not participate in the secret festivities. One of the no shows is an Indonesian cardinal, Julius Cardinal Darmaatmadja, who has announced that due to failing health and blindness will not participate. The other is the recently resigned Archbishop of Edinburgh Scotland, Keith Patrick Cardinal O'Brien who has been accused by a number of his priests of “improper sexual conduct” with them and who has consequently resigned his see.
It is interesting to me that Cardinal O'Brien has resigned over the accusations of sexual improprieties with adults under his supervision but that none of the Bishops of the Roman church who have been convicted criminally of actually protecting pedophiles in their own dioceses or whose personnel records show that they have actively protected pedophilic presbyters under their control over the last thirty years have seen fit to either resign their sees or to recuse themselves from the conclave and its deliberations. One of those intransigent princes of the church, the Archbishop Emeritus (there's that word again) of Los Angeles one Roger Cardinal Mahony has insisted that it is his “duty” to go to Rome to participate in filling the vacant see of Rome. He has had nothing to say about it having been his duty not to protect his priests from law enforcement and not shuffle offenders from parish to parish in the dead of night one step ahead of the sheriff so to speak. He does this even as he prays for forgiveness for those people of his former archdiocese who have in his words “humiliated” him.