“...Former Popes usually join monasteries....”
Well, in our lifetime, most former Popes are dead. This is a first in our lifetime, a Pope is resigning. Thought I’d never, ever see that. I wish Pope Benedict well with the rest of his life.
I was extremely fortunately to be walking down Via Concilliazione in 1978, in the Vatican, with family and friends. We had a perfect view of the chimney from which the smoke announcing the selection of a new Pope by the Conclave emanates, watched the smoke rise, then turn black. Pope John Paul I had a very short-lived papacy. I was at work in the Embassy the following week, they announced the selection of JP II. The Italian police guarding the perimeter were agog, shouting “Il Polacco, Il Polacco!!”