Benedict XV becomes the third pope to resign in the history of the Catholic Church. Before him, Gregory XII had abdicated in July 1415, and Célestin V in December 1294.
“Elected on April 19, 2005 to succeed John Paul II, he is the first German pope since the end of the pontificate of Victor II in 1057. On February 11, 2013, he announced that he was resigning his functions, this decision taking effect the following February 28 at 8 p.m. His pontificate lasted nearly eight years. The next conclave will meet before Easter. "
The day's activities will allow students to learn about the news and clarify certain elements of general culture associated with it.
At the end of the activities, the student will be able to:
- Describe the context of the pontificate of Benedict XVI;
- Identify the controversies related to its exercise;
- Distinguish and define the following terms: pontificate, cardinal, bishop, carmerlingue, conclave, congregation, pontiff;
- Identify specific words in their readings and find their meaning;
- Say what the Vatican is and locate it on a map;
- Know the stages of appointment of a pope;
- Say why some think that Quebec cardinal Marc Ouellet is a potential candidate for succession.
ACTIVITY 1: What exactly is going on?
The first activity is to learn about the news by consulting current sources.
Pope Benedict XVI: his life, his pontificate
Radio-Canada. Report of 13 minutes 57 (after the commercials!) Which recounts the highlights of his life. “The Vatican announced today that Pope Benedict XVI will step down on February 28. Joseph Alois Ratzinger was elected on April 19, 2005 to succeed John Paul II. "
Benedict XVI will step down on February 28
Radio-Canada. “The Vatican announced today that Pope Benedict XVI will step down on February 28. Joseph Alois Ratzinger was elected on April 19, 2005 to succeed John Paul II. "
Resignation of the Pope: what canon law says
La Vie.fr "Resignation? Abdication? Waiver? A pope cannot hand in his resignation to either the cardinals or the faithful. He has no superior, except God. "
Marc Ouellet "has all the skills to become pope"
The Press. "Marc Ouellet is a serious contender for the papacy," believes his former assistant to the Congregation for Bishops, Mgr Serge Poitras. "
Why do the popes change their names?
Le Figaro. “The reign name of a new pope comes from his personal choice, it is not subject to any higher or external authority to advise or even validate it. "
Elect a pope, instructions for use
20minutes.fr. “In theory, it is the Holy Spirit who chooses the Pope. In practice, it is different. »(Video report of 1min28 at the end of the article.)
How will the new Pope be chosen?
Huffington Post and AFP. “When the head of the Catholic Church resigns his office or dies, his successor is elected by the cardinals meeting in conclave in the Sistine Chapel and isolated from the outside world. "
Suggestions: group viewing, reading aloud, personal or small group reading followed by a summary to the rest of the class, etc.
Following this, invite the students to demonstrate their understanding by answering the following questions. If necessary, they can carry out additional research.
- What was the context of his pontificate?
- What were the controversies?
- What do the following terms mean: pontificate, cardinal, bishop, carmerlingue, conclave, congregation, pontiff? Download the diagram in PDF format (.pdf)
- Are there any other specific words that came up during your reading? What do they mean?
- What is the Vatican? Can you locate it on a world map?
ACTIVITY 2: Appointment of a Pope
Using internet research, students will reconstruct the steps in appointing a pope to the Catholic Church. Then ask them to illustrate everything schematically in the manner of their choice: software allowing to create diagrams, poster, concept network, etc.
It is said that Quebec cardinal Marc Ouellet would be "papable". Why? Do you believe it?
Has there ever been a pope woman?