When Benedict resigned the papacy in 2013, did he weaken it?

It’s something this scholar wrote about in 2015. . .

I do not think that the implications of his abdication have yet been fully recognised. Not since the Council of Constance had a living pope receded from the See of Rome. In 1415, the Council deposed the ‘Pisan’ pope John XXIII, and then accepted the resignation of the ‘Roman’ pope Gregory XII on 4 July. In 1417 it deposed the ‘Avignon’ pope Clement VIII, and elected Martin V.

[Until 2013] No subsequent pope has abdicated or been deposed. Since then, the assumption that the pope is a Given whom only God can loose from his pontificate, has, surely, been one of the most potent protections of each succeeding pontiff.

After Benedict’s abdication, nothing can ever be the same again. No future pope can ever be as immovable as every pope was from Constance until Benedict. . . .

Having offered samples of custom or episode in English history, in education and politics:

Eventually, this will sink in. Eventually, popes will become as disposable as head masters and Mrs Thatcher.

And this implies a consequential loss of power; a vulnerability.

He muses on it in 2021:

I wonder if (I wouldn’t put it past him) Pope Benedict XVI realised all this.

I wonder if his abdication was his last and most masterly coup to undermine the post-Vatican II construct, against which he had so vigorously argued, of the Pope Who Can Do Anything, who is an Absolute Monarch; and to restore the Vatican I model of a strictly limited papacy with its limitations clearly and lucidly described.

His resignation, in other words, spelled the death of The Dictator, or dictatorial, Pope?

2 thoughts on “When Benedict resigned the papacy in 2013, did he weaken it?

  1. I wonder if (I wouldn’t put it past him) Pope Benedict XVI realised all this.I wonder if his abdication was his last and most masterly coup to undermine the post-Vatican II construct, against which he had so vigorously argued, of the Pope Who Can Do Anything, who is an Absolute Monarch; and to restore the Vatican I model of a strictly limited papacy with its limitations clearly and lucidly described. His resignation, in other words, spelled the death of The Dictator, or dictatorial, Pope?I hope so, and trust so. Ponder the sadness of St. Thomas More in The Tower and his eloquent writing of  Tribulation. Benedict kissed the very spot where he received earthly condemnation. Both men knew (know) human authority is flawed. and still smile. Our challenge looking to these great ones is  is to discern and to look to all the gifts we are given by Holy Mother Church.   Jennifer

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