6 thoughts on “Two Popes

  1. Well, at least the Anglican who (apparently) teaches at the University of Nottingham seemedd to me to produce a pretty good analysis.

    It may well be that he thought the Conclave process rather better than the process by which a CofE bishop is elected – which your readers may recall from the recent election of the Archbishop of Canterbury – the Crown (after such consultations as it is pleased to permit) sends to the Dean and Chapter of the Cathedral a Congé d’Elire which gives them a licence to elect a named person – and only that person. At least the College of Cardinals are free to elect whom they see fit – even a layman.

    The abdication of the Holy Father on grounds of infirmity is, perhaps another example of incremental adjustment to the fact that in the modern world humans live longer than they did in the middle ages and that brings with it an increasing risk of senile dementia as well as other fralties. The process began with retirement plans for diocesan clergy. Then we had the requirement that bishops had to submit their resignations upon reaching an age limit so that when a sucessor was appointed, the bishop wouldd retire and become a “bishop emeritus”. We also had the age limit of 80 years for the cardinal electors.

    The successive Apostolic Constitions on the mode of election of a Pope have always provided for the possibility of resignation and I hope that gradually it will become the norm for popes to surremder the burden of their office when they feel they can no longer keep up with the punishing demands it imposes on them because (i) having had more power and cares than others they perhaps deserve to be allowed a quiet time to prepare for death, (ii) there is less chance of a frail and aged pope being manipulated by the curia and (iii) the physical demands on popes in terms of travel and the like have vastly increased in the last century.

    A retired pope will be able to have a Vatican passport and residence within the Vatican City and the provision of such security protection when outside the Vatican as might be necessary. Who knows? We might see a custom grow up whereby it becomes the norm for popes to lay down the burden of office after, say, 15-20 years. Perhaps we will see more than one retired pope in a Vatican “St Peter’s Home for Retired Pontiffs” or whatever they choose to call it. But every pope has been Bishop of Rome, and having resigned that office former pontiffs would be a retired bishop – whether or not he chose to use that or any title.

    What has impressed me in the last few days is the way so many UK non-Catholics and especially Anglicans have written very warmly of the Holy Father.

  2. Great explanation of the difference between a role and an office. Like the interviewer said, a lot of Catholics would probably not give better and more clear answers.
    Well, if the CofE still has priests like this, perhaps it is not doomed afterall!
    Unless of course we find this priest and others like him within the OLW Ordinariate one day😉 What’s his name, anyway?

    • After a bit of digging, the speaker is The Rev Dr Simon Oliver, Associate Professor of Theology and Head of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Nottingham University also Honorary Canon Theologian at Southwell Minster. One of his recent contributions to a festschrift in honour of Fergus Kerr OP lately the Prior of Blackfriars, Oxford. He says he has a special interest in Catholicism and the thought of St Thomas Aquinas.

  3. I think Anglican theologians need to concentrate on their own manmade mess. If your house is burning down you have no time to comment on other houses, who have divinely protected insurance anyway.

    • By the Grace of God and by way of prayer and study a significant number of Anglicans have found their way home. If memory serves me right, you yourself are a former Anglican. So by all means let Anglicans study the writings of all that is best in Catholic theology – it may help them on their journey of faith.

  4. Good point Mourad..as Oscar Wilde ( another Anglican convert to catholicism) said, ” there’s one thing worse than being talked about , and that is being ignored. “

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