Pope Emeritus

Pope Emeritus

“Pope Emeritus” is a title adopted by Pope Benedict XVI after his resignation from the papacy in February 2013.

The creation of this title for Benedict XVI was a historic decision, reflecting the unusual circumstances of a papal resignation in modern times and providing a precedent for how a retired Pope may be addressed and regarded within the Church’s hierarchy.

The term “emeritus” is a Latin word meaning “retired”.

It is commonly used in various professions, notably in academia, to denote someone who has retired from active service but retains their title as an honor.

When applied to the Pope, it acknowledges Benedict XVI’s retirement from the active duties and responsibilities of the papal office while respecting his previous role as the Bishop of Rome and leader of the Catholic Church.

The title “Pope Emeritus” signified that while Benedict XVI no longer exercises the power and authority of the papacy, he remained a figure of significant respect and honor within the Catholic Church.

It acknowledges his contribution to the Church during his tenure and allows him to continue to be addressed with a title appropriate to the dignity of the office he once held.

As Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI did not participate in the governance of the Catholic Church or in public ecclesiastical affairs. Instead, he had dedicated his post-papal life to prayer and study, living a life of retirement within the Vatican.