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msteacher Feb 11th, 2013 03:27 AM

Papal resignation
I'm rather shocked by the news of the papal resignation! We are planning to visit Rome next week. Any ideas if this news will make visiting the Vatican more difficult in any way? Or might there be something made more interesting by this news? I assume if the college of cardinals are meeting, the Sistine chapel will be closed. But maybe there will be some special masses or other rare events going on?

nytraveler Feb 11th, 2013 03:35 AM

Since this hasn't happened for more than 600 years - I don;t think anyone one knows exactly what will be going on when at this point. But don;t count on usual access.

travelingaunta Feb 11th, 2013 03:38 AM

Yes, it is quite shocking - so much so that the news this morning said "we're actually not sure who the last pope to resign was but we hope to have that nailed down later in the broadcast"! I am particularly surprised he is stepping down before Easter.

You are correct that if the conclave is meeting the Sistine Chapel and potentially other areas of the Vatican will be closed to visitors. But as of right now the news is reporting that the conclave will begin in mid-March so you should be ok. I'd keep an eye on that of course.

GAC Feb 11th, 2013 04:00 AM

Pope Benedict XVI's announcement that he will step down on February 28 is an historical event of EXTRAORDINARY significance, with few precedents in the history of the Roman Catholic Church.

Truly shocking, totally unexpected news which will be recorded in the history books.

The most famous precedent, that of Celestine V, Pietro da Morrone (who resigned in 1294), prompted Dante to pen the famous epitaph "colui che per viltade fece il gran rifiuto" (Inferno 3, 58-60). History now remembers Celestine V in a much more positive light.

goldenautumn Feb 11th, 2013 04:18 AM

Maybe he was trying to set an example for Queen Elizabeth.

Somehow, I think most of us will get on with our lives without being affected in the slightest. More like a curiosity than anything of genuine historical impact.

I was in Rome when his predecessor died and the Vatican museums shut entirely. I ended up going to Naples instead and had a wonderful time!

paradeofmonkeys Feb 11th, 2013 04:26 AM

He wants to spend more time with his family.

lor41886 Feb 11th, 2013 05:17 AM

I will be in Rome from March 9-12th, so I'm really interested to see how this affects our travel. I'm so glad we have our hotels and everything already booked. Clearly, this is unprecedented in modern history, but I'm a little excited to see this unfold but also nervous about what to expect!

msteacher Feb 11th, 2013 05:27 AM

They are now saying mid March for the conclave, so lor, you should be there at an exciting time. You can look for the white smoke. And GA, I'm still laughing at your QE2 comment!

annhig Feb 11th, 2013 05:29 AM

I'm going to Rome next week, so I'll report back on the happenings there if I can. We're staying a stone's throw from St. Peter's so I'll be almost on the spot!.

bilboburgler Feb 11th, 2013 06:19 AM

after the suppression of the info on kiddie fidlers and the butler problem, maybe its best

tom18 Feb 11th, 2013 06:35 AM

Irrelvant comment, bibloburgler, not related to travel issues, which is what this forum is about.

lor41886 Feb 11th, 2013 06:39 AM

I will definitely report back from my trip in March. And msteacher, I'll keep my eye out for white smoke. I really am so excited to be traveling during this time! (Unfortunately, we've come to the acceptance that it's very likely we won't get to do our planned Vatican Tour or Scavi Tour ...) Still - history in the making!

Michaeldcca Feb 14th, 2013 06:21 AM

I also am planning a trip for Rome next week 2/16 - 2/23, so will be following this carefully, and would appreciate any additional information/advice others have to share.

almcd Feb 14th, 2013 06:36 AM

I am totally amazed that people find his resignation "shocking" The man is senile and wants to escape before the scandals that are simmering in the background surface.

dwdvagamundo Feb 14th, 2013 07:02 AM

Doubt it will make any difference at all.

BTW--why should this be "shocking?" Benedict saw what happened to JPII and wanted to avoid that. The Pope is the servant of the Church, not a monarch. As a servant, he should be able to do what the Pope needs to do, among which is to travel a lot, and he can't anymore.

Michaeldcca Feb 14th, 2013 07:29 AM

I am confused. I just joined this site for travel information, and there's all this junk about why/if the Pope should resign. Aren't there other sites for these discussions.

annhig Feb 14th, 2013 09:01 AM

The man is senile and wants to escape before the scandals that are simmering in the background surface.>>

isn't that an oxymoron?

<<I am confused. I just joined this site for travel information, and there's all this junk about why/if the Pope should resign. Aren't there other sites for these discussions.>>

Michaeldcca - normally threads like this would be found on the madhouse that is fodors' lounge. that is where [some] fodorites go to dispute, argue, occasionally fight or just hang out. [to use an americanism]. because this thread has a {tenouous] connection with Italy, it's found it's way here.

don't worry, if you don't want to contribute, that's fine.

iris1745 Feb 14th, 2013 10:03 AM

Michaeldcca; Just look for the Travel forum.

feda Feb 14th, 2013 02:15 PM

The final big public event with the Pope will be on Wednesday,February 27th: a general audience is scheduled for that day,to be held in St Peter's square,so that pilgrims can give their final greetings to the Pope. Before that,there are going to be two "Angelus prayers" on the two Sundays before that with the Pope, who will appear from his office-window,like any Sunday, at noon. Having said that,your visits to Rome won't be affected in the slightest. In the case you are in the city the day the Pope meets the faithful for the last time, or the day the new Pope is elected, you can go to the Colosseum,or to dozens of the other gorgeous sites Rome has to offer, if you are not interested in the Pope.And chances are that these other places will be less crowded. Every week,if not day ,there is st going on in Rome, either secular or religious. That generally doesn't affect the daily tourist activites.

annhig Feb 14th, 2013 11:33 PM

feda - thanks for that information. we arrive in Rome this sunday, and leave the following saturday, so by the sounds of it we'll miss the Sunday prayers. [no problem, I'm not religious]

But I think that it is inevitable that Rome is going to be busier than normal for this time of the year. we were in Rome for the same week of the year 3 years ago, and really there weren't that many people around compared to our first visit which was in the week after EAster.

it'll be interesting to compare the numbers this year.

Alec Feb 15th, 2013 01:28 AM

As the Pope and the Roman Curia go into the week-long Lenten retreat this coming weekend, the only big public event will be the last General Audience on 27th at 10.30 am in St Peter's Square. There will be tens of thousands there to get the last glimpse of Pope Benedict, and apart from ticket holders, many more are expected to pack the Square and surrounding streets (procedure will be carried on giant screens set up along the Via della Conciliazione). Then the Pope is expected to bid farewell to cardinals and other close staff next day, before flying by helicopter to the summer palace at Castel Gandolfo, while his eventual home within the Vatican at the Convent of Mater Ecclesiae is being readied, where he will live for the rest of his life away from public gaze, in prayer and contemplation.
Papal Conclave to elect his successor must be convened between 15th to 20th March, and I imagine the earlier date is preferred so as not to clash with non-curial cardinals' existing commitment in their dioceses for Holy Week (starting 24th).
Since this isn't like previous <i>sede vacante</i> following the death of a pope, I think it will be business as usual, except that the Vatican Museums will be closed for some time leading up to the conclave and during it. So if you are planning to visit in March, you should check the official site for announcements. St Peter's may be closed at certain times, and Scavi tours may be suspended - again the official Vatican site should carry details. As for the rest of Rome, it will be business as usual, though I'd expect the number of casual pilgrims to swell and put pressure on accommodation during the conclave, and into Holy Week and Easter with a new Pope.

flanneruk Feb 15th, 2013 11:06 AM

"where he will live for the rest of his life away from public gaze, in prayer and contemplation"

Do we know that?

If it's true, as opposed to just a bit of Vatican spin doctor guff, it would be a minor tragedy.

Benedict's been dreadful, both as Pope and as JP II's effective Regent, in getting on top of the Curia's scandalous mishandling of the paedophile catastrophe. But he's a brilliant theologian, teacher and writer.

A decent politician in his situation would use retirement to advocate the things he believes in - as will Rowan Williams. Clinton, Carter and the Queen Mother (and a huge proportion of the House of Lords) are all outstanding examples of the retired being better at what they do well when no longer having a job where they've also got to do something they're not very good at.

He might not want to strut the world stage a la Blair. But writing a few good books would be a lot more use than life as a hermit.

Alec Feb 15th, 2013 11:31 AM

I doubt very much if we ever hear from Pope Benedict (as Bishop Emeritus of Rome?) after retirement, let alone see him in public. As the first pope in 600 years to abdicate, and over 700 years to do so of his own free will, there just isn't a place for a former pope in the governance of the Catholic Church, and any utterance or writing will inevitably draw comparison with his successor and will affect his pontificate one way or the other. Benedict's prayerful support for the new Supreme Pontiff is all that we can take for granted, and all we are ever likely to get. The enclosure of Mater Dei Convent will prove to be an effective safeguard for the good of the Church.

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