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How Does Law Communicate?, Vol. 27 - 2020, No. 4

Guest Edited by Philippe-Joseph Salazar and Klaus Kotzé

Communicating the Untimely: Pope Benedict Xvi’s Resignation and the Second Franciscan age

, pages: 350-356

Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation from the See of Rome, announced on 11 February 2013, has been interpreted as an eschatological gesture, most famously by the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben. This article reconsiders the evidence of eschatological thinking in the work of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI and revisits the declaration of resignation of 2013 considering the precedent set by Pope Celestine V’s abdication in 1294. It examines the ecclesiological context of this event and how this context is reflected in Ratzinger/Benedict XVI’s work. It concludes that Benedict XVI’s resignation cannot be understood without acknowledging his own interpretation of Saint Bonaventure’s moderate eschatology, ecclesiology, and theology of history. While focusing on the Church, the article also investigates the political reflections of Celestine V’s abdication and its Bonaventurian background. Via Dante and the reception of his work in the twentieth-century German-speaking context, it finally turns to the ways in which Benedict XVI associated the world with his resignation.

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