From the forums

1st March 2013 at 00:00

Has the Pope vanished?

There one minute, gone the next.


Such is the whim of the divine.


After the Pope resigns, will he be known as ex-Benedict?


"That's me in the corner, that's me in the spotlight, losing my religion... " Or maybe white just wasn't his colour.


I think it's more a case of Ratzinger leaving the sinking ship.


Rather a cheap and easy shot, I fear. He's abdicating, which, given the context, is not the same as resigning because he feels, as a consequence of advanced age, that he can't properly lead an organisation of a billion people. Could you?


Surely when he became Pope eight years ago, he knew that he would get older? He knew, for example, that eight years after taking up the role he would turn 85. Or does infallibility not run to simple arithmetic?


He accepted the will of the cardinals who voted for him. He wished to retire much earlier so that he could have peace and follow (a life of) prayer and contemplation, finish his book on Jesus and (indulge) his love of music. He is entitled.


It's just struck me that the local Papal Souvenir Tat industry will be in a complete state of crisis in the run-up to Easter. Whose image will they be putting on all the trinkets? Will there be time to refresh their stock?

magic surf bus

The Catholic church is a strange world if a 62-year-old is thought to be "young".


Nobody must disagree with atheists. They know it all.


Join the debate at

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today