With the passing of Pope Benedict XVI, the question has been raised afresh as to whether Pope Francis will now issue new protocols for a pope who steps down from office, as many have speculated.
The anomaly of the whole idea of an “emeritus pope” has been clear for the past decade, and even the details of Benedict’s death and funeral arrangements are providing fresh reminders.
For one thing, there was no symbolic smashing of the “fisherman’s ring,” as Benedict’s was already destroyed when he became the first pope to resign the papacy in 600 years in 2013. No death bells tolled at his passing and no formal announcement was made by a Vatican official, although the Vatican’s regular bells, which usually toll every quarter of an hour, have been silent since Benedict’s passing at 9:34a.m. on New Year’s Eve.
Only around 60,000 people are expected to attend Benedict XVI’s funeral, compared to the 300,000 that attended the funeral of John Paul II in 2005, though an estimated 65,000 people paid their respects to Benedict Monday, his first day of laying in state in St. Peter’s Basilica, with Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni among the first to enter.
READ ON BELOW…Will Benedict’s death open door to new rules for retired popes? | Crux