Questions have been coming up lately about the details surrounding how an outgoing, living Pope Benedict XVI would effect the Holy See in many aspects. Much of these issues surrounded how he would be addressed, how Catholics would respond to any commentary he made in light of his former position as the Vicar of Christ, etc.
One of the questions that has come up has surrounded Benedict's behavior with respect to the authority of a new Pope, given that both were doctrinally selected as the sole representative of Christ on earth, a position that usually has no retirement plan.
That question was answered by the Pontiff, himself, in his farewell meeting on 28 February 2013 with Cardinals. Benedict stated,
“Among you, in the College of Cardinals, there is the future pope, to whom I promise my unconditional reverence and obedience."
There are 115 cardinals who are eligible for election as a new pope, with one of the requirements being that no candidate can be over 80-years-old.
There are no rules or regulations requiring Benedict to pledge obedience to the new Pope, but the Vatican’s chief spokesman, Rev. Federico Lombardi, stated it was a ‘beautiful gesture’ for the Pope to state that ‘he has no intention of interfering.’
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