As you’ve probably heard, Pope Benedict XVI has announced he is stepping down as head of the Holy See at the end of this month. Papal resignation is a very uncommon occurance. The reign of the pope has conventionally been from election until death. While a few have been deposed, only 5 Popes in all of history have ever resigned. Speculations on why he is resigning are varied.
But now the press is reporting that Pope Benedict plans to continue to live in the Vatican after he resigns. Legal experts say that is so he will have immunity from prosecution for sex related crimes charged against the Catholic Church and allegations of impropriety at the Vatican Bank. When Benedict went to Britain in 2010, the public urged British authorities to arrest the pope. Vatican City is considered a sovereign state, and is “invariably and in every event considered as neutral and inviolable territory.” If he left the Vatican, he might face extradition. No word on who the next Pope might be but many think Bono would be a natural.