President Francesco Cesareo Expert in Papal History

Pope Benedict XVI announced on Feb. 11, 2013, that he plans to resign at the end of this month, citing his age as the reason.

Assumption College President Francesco Cesareo specializes in and has been published on the Renaissance papacy and Catholic Church history. He is a frequent commentator for the media on issues regarding the Catholic Church and the Papacy, and holds a Ph.D. in Late Medieval/Early Modern European history from Fordham University.

“While this is unprecedented in modern times, this is not the first time in Church history that this has happened,” President Cesareo said. “In his book Light of the World, the Pope has said that at any point when the Pope can no longer carry the obligations of the office, he has a right and an obligation to resign. Pope Benedict has put the good of the Church ahead of his position. In Pope John Paul II’s case, John Paul saw his suffering as teaching. Pope Benedict sees the needs of the Church as primary.

A dramatic shift in the positions of the Catholic Church should not be expected, according to President Cesareo.

“All of the cardinals in the College of Cardinals were appointed by John Paul II or Benedict,” he pointed out. “They will not choose someone who would dramatically change the direction of the Church or repudiate Pope Benedict’s policies.

President Cesareo anticipates the process to choose a new pope will move quickly.

“After a pope dies, there are nine days of formal mourning. In this case, I would expect the Cardinals to begin their Conclave early in March since Pope Benedicts resignation is effective Feb. 28,” he said.

Media wishing to interview President Cesareo should contact Lorraine U. Martinelle, Assumption College’s associate director of public affairs, at, or 508-767-7173.

Kimberly Dunbar, Director of Public Affairs, Assumption College @AssumptionNews