America Magazine quoting Pope Francis on the “institution” of the emeritus pope:
I think that the emeritus pope is already an institution because our life gets longer and at a certain age there isn’t the capacity to govern well because the body gets tired, and maybe one’s health is good but there isn’t the capacity to carry forward all the problems of a government like that of the church. I think that Pope Benedict made this gesture of emeritus popes. May, as I said before, some theologian may say this is not right, but I think this way. The centuries will tell us if this so or not. Let’s see.
I am still a bit shaken by the news this morning of Pope Benedict’s resignation. Obviously, this story has many different layers that time will expose, but for now, I wanted to leave this simple, short reflection on where my affection for “Papa Benny” began.
Pope Benedict XVI is the only Bishop of Rome that I’ve known since becoming Catholic and his writings prior to being elected played a major part in my intellectual conversion. The engagement ring my wife wears was blessed by him during our first trip to Rome just three months after my reception into the Church. We became engaged in St. Peter’s Square on that trip.
While many of my Catholic friends rightfully call Blessed John Paul II “their Pope”, Pope Benedict will likely always hold that title for me.