Tuesday 3 January 2023

Papal abdications and funerals

'Medieval papal resignations were not generally voluntary renunciations of power by those who recognised that they could no longer wield it effectively. And the one which may have been, that of Celestine V in 1294, ended with that Pope brutally murdered by his successor.'

Miles Pattenden, an ecclesiastical historian, in Spectator Australia, 2 January

'When Celestine V resigned in 1294 to live like a monk, his successor, Pope Boniface VIII, in part fearing a rival claim, threw him in jail and deprived him a pope’s funeral when he died in 1296. When Gregory XII stepped down from the throne in 1415, the last pope to resign before Benedict, he reverted to being a cardinal, and he received the funeral rites reserved for a cardinal when he died two years later. In 1802, Pius VII presided over the funeral of his predecessor, Pius VI, whose body returned to the Vatican after he died in 1799 in exile.

'...“Celestine V took down his robe before an audience to send a message,” said Marco Politi, a veteran Vatican analyst. He added that Benedict had himself intended to become “Brother Benedict” and live as a monk, but his partisans persuaded him to take the title of emeritus, which is more common in the Eastern churches. “Benedict still wore similar clothes even in public pictures, and this created misunderstanding and confusion.”'

New York Times, January 1

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