Scholars will, undoubtedly, be discussing this historic day in Catholicism for years to come. While there is not a great deal of scholarship on the papacy by sociologists of religion, we’d be remiss as bloggers to not mention this historic moment.
One of the most clear and insightful accounts I have seen thus far is “Can a Pope Resign?” by Fr. Thomas J. Reese, SJ in The National Catholic Reporter.
I did quickly do some research to see if there had been any social scientific analysis of this papacy, and found just one recent piece “Benedict the Bifurcated: Secular and Sacred Framing of the Pope and Turkey” authored by Valenzano and Menegatos and published by the Journal of Media and Religion in 2008.
Feel free to react to the resignation or to note other insightful accounts in the comments.