Q&A: Where do we go from here? 27 February 2013
Pope Benedict XVI's resignation has thrown the Church into uncharted waters. As the first pope to resign in more than 600 years, Benedict XVI has effectively forced the Church to swiftly draw up new protocols for pontiffs who step down rather than die in office. Some questions have been resolved already but others remain and officials only have a matter of weeks to work out solutions to others.
Where will the Pope live?
At 5pm Rome-time on 28 February Pope Benedict XVI travelled by helicopter to his summer residence, Castel Gandolfo. His resignation took effect at 19:00 GMT. He will remain there until the conclave elects his successor.
Later he, and much of his retinue will move to the Mater Ecclesiae monastery in the south-west corner of Vatican City. The Holy See spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi said he thought that the Pope's personal secretary Archbishop Georg Gänswein would move there with him, although curiously, Gänswein will also be the prefect of the new pope's household.
Some of the Vatican's 27 gardeners will work a 500-square-metre organic fruit and vegetable garden for which the monastery is known. The Pope is known to be partial to the marmalade made by the contemplative nuns who moved out of there in October.
What role will he play?
Following his resignation Pope Benedict has no administrative or official duties and he will not participate in the conclave to elect his successor.
Pope Benedict said when he announced his resignation that he will spend his time praying for the Church. However the unprecedented situation of a living former pope residing a stone's throw from the seat of power raises questions. The Pope's elder brother, Mgr Georg Ratzinger, has already said Benedict (or whatever we will call him by then) would be happy to advise his successor if necessary. Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schönborn said: "The new Pope will, I think, be very glad if he can sometimes sit down and talk with his predecessor and ask him for advice." He may feel an obligation to speak out or agitate behind the scenes if his successor's actions worried him sufficiently.
The Vatican's spokesman, Fr Federico Lombardi SJ, said the Pope will spend his time praying, studying and writing. When he has the time, the Pope Benedict enjoys reading, playing the piano and watching DVDs of black and white comedies.
What will he be called?
Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi told a press conference that Pope Benedict's full title after his resignation takes effect will be Roman Pontiff Emeritus or His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Emeritus.
What will happen to Pope's ring?
Pope Benedict's papal ring, the Ring of the Fisherman and the symbol of papal authority, was broken up with a silver hammer designated for the purpose. This was done in the presence of other cardinals by the Camerlengo (the administrator of property and revenues of the Holy See). According to the Vatican: "Objects strictly tied to the ministry of St Peter must be destroyed."
What will he wear?
He will wear a white cassock, but not the small white cape he uses as Pope, nor the red papal shoes.
Fr Lombardi said the Pope would probably wear brown shoes. He said the Pope was "very happy" with a pair of brown shoes he was given in Leon, Mexico, which he visited last year.
Decisions about the emeritus pope's title and dress were made in consultation with Pope Benedict, the Camerlengo, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, and others.
What happens to the Curia when a Pope dies or resigns?
Almost all curial offices must be reappointed, with the exception of the Camerlengo and the Major Penitentiary. Secretaries remain in place to keep day to day business ticking over. Church governance passes to the College of Cardinals, but only for the dispatch of ordinary business or matters that cannot be postponed. No laws can be made or abolished.
Who gets to elect the Pope's successor?
All cardinals who are under 80 years of age when the Pope's resignation came into effect are eligible to vote.
There are at present 117 cardinal electors out of a maximum of 120. Sixty-seven of these were appointed by Pope Benedict.
Cardinal Julius Darmaatmadja of Indonesia will not travel to the conclave because of ill-health. Scottish Cardinal Keith O'Brien will not attend the conclave because he is concerned that recent allegations of inappropriate behaviour, which he contests, could dominate media attention so the conclave will consist of 115 cardinals.
The three cardinals who turn 80 in March (Cardinals Walter Kasper, Severino Poletto and Juan Sandoval Iniguez) - that is, between the Pope's resignation and the conclave - will be eligible to vote.
Who will represent the Church in England and Wales in the 2013 conclave?
Sore point. England and Wales does not currently have a cardinal of voting age. Archbishop Emeritus of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, turned 80 on 24 August and became ineligible to vote. The current Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, has not yet received a red hat. Cardinal Keith O'Brien will not attend the conclave because of allegations of inappropriate behaviour, which he contests; the Cardinal said he did not want media speculation to dominate attention. Britain therefore has no representative. Ireland (Northern and the Republic) will be represented by Cardinal Sean Brady.
What if a cardinal cannot attend?
Cardinals who are legitimately impeded by circumstances such as illness and extreme weather are exempt. Postal voting is not an option.
When does voting start?
Traditionally a conclave must start 15 to 20 days after a Pope's death - or, in this case, resignation. The earliest that the 2013 conclave can start is 15 March.
How long does the process take?
There is no maximum time limit - the conclave lasts until a new pope is elected. But Fr Lombardi has said that the Church can expect to have a new pope by Easter, 31 March.
After the first evening ballot, the next day they begin voting twice in the morning and twice in the afternoon.
The 2005 conclave that elected Pope Benedict took just 24 hours. He was elected on the fourth ballot.
How does voting work?
A vote is held in the Sistine Chapel on the afternoon of the first day of conclave, once every one who is not a cardinal elector has been expelled. If no candidate receives the required two-thirds plus one majority, the electors vote again the next morning.
From then on there are two votes a day, in between which electors pray and reflect. The cardinal-electors stay in single en-suite rooms in a guesthouse within the Vatican, and travel by bus to and from the Sistine Chapel.
Every morning and evening "scrutineers" are chosen by lot to count and recount the votes, folded ballot cards dropped into a silver dish or paten.
Once counted, the ballots are burned by the scrutineers with the addition of special chemicals to make the smoke white or black: white smoke signifies the election of a pope, black smoke indicates an inconclusive vote.
If a pope has not been elected within 13 days - which would mean after 33 or 34 rounds of voting - run-off ballots between the two leading candidates are held. The two leading cardinals, who must still secure a two-thirds plus one majority to win, cannot vote in the run-off ballots.
What happens when a clear winner emerges?
Immediately after the ballots have been checked, and before the voting cardinals leave the Sistine Chapel, all the ballots are burnt by the scrutineers, with the assistance of the Secretary of the Conclave and the Masters of Ceremonies who in the meantime have been summoned by the junior cardinal deacon.
The cardinal dean, or the cardinal who is first in order of seniority in the college of electors, in this case Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, asks the one elected: "Do you accept your canonical election as supreme pontiff? And as soon as he has received the consent, he asks him: "By what name do you wish to be called?" Then the master of papal liturgical celebrations, acting as notary, draws up a document certifying acceptance by the new pope, and the name taken by him.
The new pope is clothed in the papal attire (there are sets in three different sizes to hand).
Finally, the Senior Deacon of the College of Cardinals (the protodeacon), in this case Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, steps out onto the central loggia or outer balcony of St Peter's Basilica and exclaims: "Habemus Papam" ("We have a Pope!"). After the cardinal announces the name, the new pope steps onto the balcony himself and gives his first "Urbi et Orbi" blessing to the city and the world.
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