Pope Benedict XVI announced this week that he was resigning the papacy, becoming the first pope to do so in six centuries. Due to the rarity of the situation, many questions have been raised about how to handle the resignation under Catholic law.
Under the Code of Canon Law, Canon 332, no. 2, there is little said about the protocol to resign the papacy: “If it happens that the Roman Pontiff resigns his office, it is required for validity that the resignation is made freely and properly manifested but not that it is accepted by anyone.”
For more on this topic, see the Wall Street Journal’s “A Legal Guide to Papal Resignation.”