Dante Alighieri took a dim view of Papal resignation, consigning Pope Celestine V, who resigned his office after serving only five months in 1294, to the anteroom of Hell.
Virgil describes the residents of that region of the Underworld:
Questo misero modo
tegnon lâ€™anime triste di coloro
che visser sanza â€™nfamia e sanza lodo.
Mischiate sono a quel cattivo coro
de li angeli che non furon ribelli
nÃ© fur fedeli a Dio, ma per sÃ© fuoro.
Caccianli i ciel per non esser men belli,
nÃ© lo profondo inferno li riceve,
châ€™alcuna gloria i rei avrebber dâ€™elli. …
Poscia châ€™io vâ€™ebbi alcun riconosciuto,
vidi e conobbi lâ€™ombra di colui
che fece per viltade il gran rifiuto.
“This miserable state
Holds the sad souls of those
Who lived without infamy or praise.
Commingled are they with that caitiff choir
Of Angels, who have not rebellious been,
Nor faithful were to God, but were for self.
The heavens expelled them, not to be less fair;
Nor them the nethermost abyss receives,
For glory none the damned would have from them.” …
When some among them I had recognized,
I looked, and I beheld the shade of him
Who made through cowardice the great refusal.
The (regarded by the Church, and scholars generally, as apocryphal) Papal Prophecies allegedly received in a vision by St. Malachy, 12th century Bishop of Armagh, interestingly predict that there will only be one more pope after Benedict.
The next pope will preside over the Church in a time of persecution. The city of Rome will be destroyed, and the Last Judgment will arrive.
The prophecy says (in Latin):
In psecutione extrema S.R.E. sedebit.
Petrus Romanus, qui pascet oues in multis tribulationibus: quibus transactis ciuitas septicollis diruetur, & Iudex tremendus iudicabit populum suum. Finis.
“In the extreme persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will preside. Peter the Roman, who will pasture his sheep in many tribulations: and when these things are completed, the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the terrible judge will judge his people. The End.”
I thought I was pretty much the only pedant likely to know about the Prophecies of St. Malachy, but I found that the Irish Central was up on all this, and actually beat me to the punch in informing contemporary mankind on the world’s imminent end.
Kudos, Irish Central!