Pope Benedict XVI resigns on february 28th 2013 in General Off-Topic Discussion Posted February 28, 2013 · Report reply You have a point, but still, those people don't have the final authority in their respective countries. They can have influence, but they can't make executive decisions. And they can only do that if they chose to do so. Benedict XVI has chosen to leave the Papacy without an election kicking him out or a term limit imposed on him. He isn't likely to going to be behind the scenes pulling strings or intrigues in the Vatican. He resigned/retired because he no longer has the energy to do so and his health is declining. He may be asked for advice from time to time, but he isn't exactly going to be like Juan Antonio Samaranch, lurking in the background still muddling about in the politics of the organization. Otherwise, he would have stayed on.