Resources on Faith, Ethics and Public Life

The Papal Succession

On February 11, 2013, Pope Benedict XVI announced his intention to resign from the papal office effective February 28. The first papal resignation since Pope Gregory XII in 1415 and the first voluntary resignation since Pope Celestine V in 1294, the news caught the world by surprise and set off a flurry of analysis, commentary, and attention on the Vatican. As cardinals prepared for the papal conclave held in early March, the media started speculating on those considered front-runners (papabile) for the papal office. This page highlights information and commentary about Pope Benedict XVI's resignation, the papal conclave, those discussed as papabile (likely candidates), and the election of Pope Francis.
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