Can the pope resign and has any pope resigned previously?

Hi. Given the sudden, shocking resignation of Pope Benedict today, I just want to know the following:

Can the Pope legally resign? Has any Pope resigned in the history of the Church.

On an unrelated note, I started RCIA last week, so please pray for me if possible.


Yes, certainly a pope can resign or better, retire. Several popes have retired through the years, but it has been almost six hundred years since the last one did so. Pope Celestine V is one that comes to mind. See:

Be assured of our prayers and welcome home!

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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