Foto del docente

Geraldina Boni

Full Professor

Department of Legal Studies

Academic discipline: IUS/11 Ecclesiastical and Canon Law

Useful contents

Research group – Entirely impeded Roman See and legal status of the Bishop of Rome who resigned


Well known are the recent events of the papacy that, after the resignation of Benedict XVI, saw anunprecedented coexistence of the reigning Roman Pontiff with the ‘emeritus’ one; moreover, it is increasingly evident that other circumstances could arise, in which the Pope, because of the advance of age or health problems, remains alive with the help of medicine and technology, but is unable to exercise the munus petrinum. The entirely impeded Roman See is only mentioned in the Code of Canon Law but it is not regulated, despite canon 335 refers to a special law for such a case. And above all, what is missing is a legal solution that guarantees to the universal Church its head when the Roman Pontiff can no longer govern it because he is entirely, permanently and irreversibly impeded.

A group of canonists - coordinated by Professor Geraldina Boni (Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna) with the support of her collaborators Manuel Ganarin, Alberto Tomer and Nico Tonti - perceived these normative gaps and, fearing such sensitive contingencies and the uncertainties or disagreements that could subsequently rise, worked together for several months on drafting two legislative proposals: one on the entirely impeded Roman See and the other on the canonical condition of the Bishop of Rome who resigned his office. The texts of these proposals are now published on an interactive online platform to invite all scholars around the world to offer their contribution in view of their improvement: in this sense, it is possible to publish and attach documents that are made accessible to the scientific community. At the end of this common effort of juridical science (but also theological, etc.), the proposals will be presented to the supreme legislator so that they may be of some benefit, if he sees fit.

Therefore, juridical science puts its skills at the service of the Church and the Vicar of Christ, while also promoting the implementation of synodality in the exercise of legislative functions through a widely participated way of forming laws, with the aim of achieving the best result. The canonists who launched the initiative wish to draw attention to the content of the proposals so that, through the development of extensive dialogue and discussion, the final formulation represents the shared fruit of the active cooperation of all scholars.

The address of the platform is