Pope Benedict XVI, has abdicated his position as the Pope of Catholic Christian head. He being the temporal head of the Vatican, it can be said that he has ‘abdicated’ papacy. But structurally, in English it doesn’t sound good, as this is the first time after 1412 AD that a Pope has resigned! It is not a very normal occurrence. I consider myself lucky to have been alive when an event like this is taking place.
Whenever an ‘abdication’ takes place, one gets a feeling that it is a political event to do with something other than democracy, as in a democracy there is no such thing called as “abdication”. In a Monarchy, the word “abdication” is commonly used and consequently the next question asked is “IN FAVOUR OF WHOM?”
But the next Pope is to be elected, which is a democratic process among the College of Cardinals, who had not attained the age of 80. So, the Pope is essentially not ‘ABDICATING” as, the successor in office is not predetermined through a pre-existing hierarchy. So in essence, i should be calling it as LAYING DOWN OF THE OFFICE OF THE BISHOPRIC OF ROME!
If that were to be the case, what about the INFALLIBILITY of the Pope? Would Pope Benedict XVI be not eligible for such privilege if he lays down his office?
Further, if both the Ex-Pope and the then future Pope were to be accorded the “infallibility”, there would be two human beings who would be infallible during my life time. It is not merely an episode, it would be a historical EVENT.
I as an outsider to the Catholic faith, would be interested in seeing a solution being offered by their Eminences in clarification of the INFALLIBILITY concept of a POPE.