Thursday, April 1, 2010

Can a pope resign from office?

From The BBCThe possibility has been raised that Pope Benedict XVI should resign over the snowballing paedophile priest scandal in the Catholic Church. The BBC's Vatican correspondent, David Willey, examines the question.

The Vatican has vigorously defended Pope Benedict's record in office
In theory, there is nothing to stop Pope Benedict taking a piece of paper out of his writing desk and drafting a letter of resignation to hand to the College of Cardinals, the supreme electoral body of the Catholic Church.

Under Canon Law, the only conditions for the validity of such a resignation are that it be made freely and be properly published.

But no pope has done this in modern times.

There has, however, been persistent speculation by historians that during World War II, Pope Pius XII drew up a document stating that if he were to be kidnapped by the Nazis he was to be considered to have resigned, and a successor should be chosen.

See also Pope Now Under Fire For US Abuse Cover Up , Pope Under Fire For German Church Sex Scandal

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