This is the last week on the job for Pope Benedict XVI.   Benedict is retiring on Thursday, an unusual move, since popes usually serve for life, but abdication is not unprecedented. He’ll retire to a monastery within the Vatican.  There’s a lot we don’t know about how to deal with an ex-pope, says Alexander Stumvoll, a professor of Catholic studies at DePaul University.
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“There are so many questions that are still open– how will Pope Benedict be known? Will he become a cardinal again, how will we address him, is he still going to wear the white papal dress? Many, many open questions which the Vatican itself is not able to answer,” he said.  Stumvoll says he’ll probably continue to be called Benedict and not go back to being Joseph Ratzinger, and he’ll be an elder statesman in case the new pope asks for advice. As to whether the ex-pope writes a book or gives interviews, Stumvoll said that would be problematic if he has opinions on theological matters that differ from those of the next pope.
The cardinals of the church will gather in Rome this week to see Pope Benedict into retirement; then they’ll select a new pope. An Irish bookmaker,, is giving odds of 20-1 on an American pope.   It’s 200-1 for it to be Cardinal Francis George, the archbishop of Chicago –greater than the site’s 150-1 odds on the Cubs winning the World Series.
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