16 results
March 14, 2013

In 2005, I was in a colleague's office when another colleague came running down the hall, breathlessly announcing, "There's white smoke!" I ran for a radio in my office, but an announcement came over the intercom. "We're gathering in the conference room!" Table and chairs were shoved aside, people stood or sat on the floor, all eyes were glued to a tiny TV set that had very poor reception. 

When "Josephum" was announced as the new pope's first name, I sucked in my breath. At the word...

February 16, 2013

As the clock strikes 8 p.m. on February 28, 2013, Rome time, the Chair of Peter will no longer be occupied by a successor of Peter. The sedecavantist movement may say, "Like we've been saying all along." 

Many unanswered questions linger, such as what will Benedict XVI's proper title will be. (The leading theory is that he'll continue to be called Your Holiness in the way...

February 15, 2013

Pope Benedict’s renouncement of the papal office has spurred a rash of questions about the purported prophecies of St. Malachy. “Will Benedict’s successor be the last pope?” “Are we headed into a period of great tribulation?” “Will the world end soon?”

The last time we fielded so many such questions at Catholic Answers was about eight years ago, shortly after the death of Blessed John Paul II. This makes sense, because the prophecies in question concern the identities of popes from...

February 12, 2013

It was about six o'clock in the morning, Pacific Time. I was jolted awake by a chime from my phone indicating an incoming text message. Since to be awakened first thing in the morning by your phone never means good news, I stumbled from bed and stared blearily at my phone. Once my mind started processing, shock seeped in:

Just heard on the news that the pope is stepping down at the end of the month for health reasons.

The colleague who had sent the...

February 11, 2013

In the coming days there will be plenty of comments about Pope Benedict XVI's stunning announcement. Some of those comments will appear in the Catholic Answers Blog. For now, let me make a few points:

1. Yes, popes can renounce the Petrine office. A few popes have done so, the most famous being St. Celestine V in 1296. (More on him another time.)

2. Benedict XVI hasn't "resigned," as that word commonly is used. A resignation implies informing one's superior about one's decision...