Does One Stay Pope Forever?
In practice, Benedict XVI distinguished between the munus and the officium, that is, between the function and the exercise of the function. Once elected pope, he remains pope forever.
In a certain sense, Benedict XVI equated the election as pope with a further episcopal ordination. German theologian Karl Rahner, who emphasized that the power of order and the power of jurisdiction were indissociable, had come to consider the primacy conferred with the election as pope as the highest degree of the sacrament of orders. According to this criterion, the beginning of the pope’s Petrine ministry would represent a unique ordination.”
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