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Back to 2013_02_14_El titulo del Papa tras su renuncia

Francisco Javier Otaduy Guerín,, Professor of the School of Canon Law of the University of Navarra

The Pope's degree scroll after his Withdrawal

Thu, 14 Feb 2013 09:30:00 +0000 Published in La Razón

Following the news of Benedict XVI's Withdrawal , the Holy See spokesman, Federico Lombardi, explained that the Vatican is studying with the Pope's own financial aid the degree scroll he will have in the future.

In this regard, a first distinction should be made between position and degree scroll. The former is understood as 'ecclesiasticalofficial document '. As such, Joseph Ratzinger will not hold one, since, as he has stated statement, he will live in retirement in a convent in the Vatican from the time his Withdrawal becomes effective.

Regarding the degree scroll, it consists of the treatment he will receive when he is spoken to or when third parties refer to him. Since the Canon Law does not regulate the degree scroll of a pontiff who resigns and there are no recent precedents that give clues as to which one they might choose, we will not know which one is the definitive one until the Holy See announces it.

In the voice 'Withdrawal of the Roman Pontiff' of the General Dictionary of Canon Law (Volume 6, pp. 932 and 933), recently published by the University of Navarra and Thomson Reuters Aranzadi, the Polish professor Piotr Majer analyzes what could be the canonical position of the resigned Roman Pontiff in the Church: "Would he be just another episcopus consecratus? It seems that there is nothing to prevent some of the theological indications of the 2008 Cong Episc document Il vescovovo emerito from being applied to the "Pope emeritus", keeping due proportions, especially with regard to participation in co-responsibility in the Church. The Code says nothing about whether the Pope who renounced his official document retains the cardinal dignity".

Although Benedict XVI will lose his pontifical status, he will not lose his cardinal status, so he will continue to be Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. As such, he will have the title of 'eminent' or 'his eminence'. Some of the denominations that could be being considered in the Vatican are 'Bishop Emeritus' (or 'Resigning Bishop') of Rome, or 'Roman Pontiff Emeritus'.