Pope Benedict XVI will be the 7th pope to have resigned his office.

Pope St Celestine V with Benedict.jpg

The picture shows Pope Benedict XVI placing a pallium on the casket of 13th-century Pope Saint Celestine V. 

Saint Celestine V was one of the few popes who resigned or abdicated (contrary to the claim by many writers that he was the only pope to do so) in 1294. 

The other popes who did so were: 

  • Pontian in 235
  • Silverius in 537
  • Martin I in 653
  • John XVIII retired to a monastery in 1009
  • Benedict IX abdicated in 1045 but was restored to office in 1047
  • Gregory XII resigned in 1415 in an effort to end the Great Schism that split the Church from 1378 to 1417; appointed Bishop of Porto by the Council meeting in Constance.

Pope Benedict was elected on 19 April 2005: 7 years, 10 months, 10 days.

Among the popes, Benedict has served a good time, some say. In comparison:

Pope Urban VII: 13 days (1590)

Pope John Paul II: 26 years, 4 months (1978-2005)

Pope Pius IX: 31 years, 7 months, 23 days (1846-1878)

There is no one to accept Pope Benedict’s resignation but God. We ought to recognize in the Benedict’s intention to resign the petrine Office a profound act of humility and integrity; one can say without certainty that this is a man takes his vocation seriously so as to take such an unusual step for the good of the Church.