Can Benedict XVI be reelected?

If Pope Francis passes away or resign, can, theoretically, the college of cardinals elect Joseph Ratzinger again as pope? If so, would he be Benedict XVI or XVII?

Theoretically and hypothetically: yes, of course.

In reality: no way would it ever happen. There is not the slightest realistic scenario where that would occur. Nada.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVII is 92-years-old in declining health and now (according to reports) wheelchair bound. No way would the Cardinals try to re-elect him at his advance age and very poor health.


afaik, there isn’t any papal age restrictions as to when they should retire as there is for Bishops. Thus we saw Pope JPII was 84, Pope Paul VI was 80 and Pope John XXIII was 81.

So as PeterT said, they are not likely to re-elect Pope Emeritus Benedict due to his poor health, and secondly even if he was re-elected he’d have to accept being elected and we know he would not accept - so electing him would be pointless.

Of course they could, and it’s entirely possible that they would do this, if they couldn’t decide on a candidate and wanted to have a de facto “interregnum with a placeholder Pope”.

I have to think he’d keep his regnal name and Roman numeral. It wouldn’t be quite like Grover Cleveland having been both the 22nd and 24th Presidents.

1 Like

Not so theoretical- Benedict IX twice abdicated (or more properly once abdicated and once was deposed ) and twice resumed.the Papal throne. Kept the same regnal name and number.

Papal history truly is stranger than fiction at times…

1 Like

Pope Benedict IX - rather different times and circumstances to today.

1 Like

While he would be eligible, like every other male Catholic, I can’t imagine the cardinals engaging in the sheer idiocy of thrusting that burden on someone who already gave it up because it was killing him, is only alive because he gave it up, and is now several years older . . .


Theoretically, yes he could be re-elected. And I could theoretically also be elected Pope, win an Academy Award, and be appointed Secretary-General of the United Nations.


The prediction attributed to Pope St. Pius X is that both Benedict XVI and Francis will be dramatically effected by the same tragic event at Vatican City.

Is there any actual proof that Pius X made this prophecy? I looked around and saw some people claiming he did, like that site–but no one actually pointing to any contemporary account of it, or any source at all.

That’s a good question, and the objection has been raised before. I reviewed three biographies of the Saint, and could find no mention of these visions, and that is why i qualified my previous post with “attributed.”

In my opinion, a better question is, “Were these visions reported before the year 2013 when Pope Benedict XVI resigned?” I say that because i believe that the correct interpretation of them is that the two visions refer to different persons. The 1909 vision mentions a “pope,” while the 1914 vision refers to “a successor of the same name,” and these two persons are obviously being effected by the same event. Since a “successor” to a pope would also have to have been a pope, how is that possible? The only answer would be that a pope who shared a name with Pius X resigned and remained living in Vatican City. Joseph Ratzinger does share his first name with Giuseppe Sarto.

My conclusion is that it does not make any difference to the validity of the visions if they were not actually had by Pius X. The visions predicted the resignation of a pope who would share a name with him, and, by that occurrence taking place, the prophecy has validated itself.
The earliest internet report of the visions that i could find was in 1998.

That’s an interesting site. Among other things, it claims authorization to re-assert the Inquisition, and says all True Catholics must “report information,” anonymously if necessary. The site is also riddled with anti-Semitic articles. Doesn’t give much credibility to what they attribute to Pius X.

My apologies for that “site.” I did not review it. The two visions attributed to St. Pius X have been mentioned by several, less controversial, sites. I believe the report of the content of the alleged visions is accurate, whether Pius X actually had them himself or not.

Well, first, your source doesn’t associate it with Benedict XVI at all, it claims it’s Giuseppe Siri (who some conspiracy theorists, including apparently that site, believe was elected pope, but this was reversed shortly afterwards and then John XIII was given it instead–this idea is often utilized to support sedevacantism). This supposed prophecy therefore appears to be a much later concoction used to support this idea that Siri was elected pope.

Now, you appear to be trying to say it wasn’t actually about Siri, but was really a prophecy about Benedict XVI, because Giuseppe is the Italian version of Joseph. Calling them the “same” name is a major stretch in my opinion. But even if we accept it’s the same name, we run into a rather big problem that the prophecy claimed:

“What I see is terrifying! Will it be myself? Will it be my successor? What is certain is that the Pope will quit Rome, and in leaving the Vatican he will have to walk over the dead bodies of his priests.”

Well, did Benedict XVI quit Rome? No, he’s still living there. He’s still living in the Vatican (so much for “leaving” it). And where are the dead bodies of priests he had to walk over?

Then we come to the next part of the prophecy:

“I have seen one of my successors, of the same name (Giuseppe), who was fleeing over the bodies of his brethren. He will take refuge in some hiding place; but after a brief respite he will die a cruel death.”

Did Benedict XVI flee over the bodies of his brethren? No. It’s hard to qualify anything he did as taking refuge in a hiding place, but even if we accept his residence in tne Mater Ecclesiae Monastery as some kind of hiding place, he certainly didn’t “die a cruel death” “after a brief respite” given that he’s been there for years. I suppose someone could claim that a “brief respite” could still be years, but then the prophecy remains unproven until he actually dies a cruel death (and if he does not, it is disproven).

So to claim the prophecy was validated, you have to ignore the fact most of it didn’t happen, assume that the phrase “quit Rome” refers to resignation (even though it’s immediately followed by the statement of walking, indicating it’s a physical act of leaving, not simple resignation), and make the stretch of claiming Giuseppe and Joseph are the same name.

This is how I view things too. He resigned in large part due to his age and declining health, so I have a hard time seeing the cardinals re-electing him seven years later at this point, especially with him being wheelchair bound and reportedly barely able to speak.

And if they did elect him, I believe he is always free to simply say “no.”

1 Like

Thanks for your reply and for the new information therein concerning the possible source of this prediction. Prophecy often comes to us in unexpected ways, and, even if the source you have mentioned was the correct one, I would not discount the prediction because of that.

I would critique your reply in this way. You have assumed that the visions must have already been fulfilled, and, since that is obviously not the case, you have concluded that they are not valid. But let me remind you that Benedict XVI is still alive and residing in Vatican City. And, as long as those two things remain true, then there is still time for the prophecy to be fulfilled. When Benedict XVI either passes away or moves his residence out of Vatican City, then the prophecy can no longer be fulfilled.

I mentioned the “hidden” prediction in the visions which seems to indicate that a Pope “of the same name” would retire and then reside in Vatican City. When I said that this had come true, I did not mean to imply that the explicit predictions in the visions had also taken place. All I meant was that this fulfillment validated the explicit part of the prophecy which has yet to happen. (We should pray that it does not.)

We have a different set of predictions that are meant for Popes, and the prophecy for Pope Francis is:

In psecutione. extrema S.R.E. sedebit.

The correct translation is: He will reign in the final persecution. of the Holy Roman Church.

This is an ominous prediction, and it appears to be related to the alleged visions that we have been discussing. Notice the out of place period in this phrase. A period is the signal of an ending, and, in this case, a premature one. Perhaps it signals the advent of Pius X’s visions.

I suggest that we keep Francis, Benedict XVI, and Vatican City in our prayers.

This topic was automatically closed 14 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit