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A papal renunciation occurs when the reigning pope of the Roman Catholic Church voluntarily steps down from his position. As the reign of the pope has conventionally been from election until death, papal resignation is an uncommon event. Before the 21st century, only five popes unambiguously resigned with historical certainty, all between the 10th and 15th centuries. Additionally, disputed claims of four popes having resigned date between the 3rd and 11th centuries; a fifth disputed case may have involved an antipope.

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A papal renunciation (Latin: renuntiatio) occurs when the reigning pope of the Roman Catholic Church voluntarily steps down from his position. As the reign of the pope has conventionally been from election until death, papal resignation is an uncommon event. Before the 21st century, only five popes unambiguously resigned with historical certainty, all between the 10th and 15th centuries. Additionally, disputed claims of four popes having resigned date between the 3rd and 11th centuries; a fifth disputed case may have involved an antipope.

Additionally, a few popes during the saeculum obscurum were "deposed," meaning driven from office by force. The history and canonical question here is complicated; generally, the official Vatican list of popes seems to recognize such "depositions" as valid resignations if the pope acquiesced, but not if he did not. The later development of canon law has been in favor of papal supremacy, leaving no recourse to remove a pope involuntarily.

The most recent pope to resign was Benedict XVI, who vacated the Holy See on 28 February 2013 at 19:00 UTC. He was the first pope to do so since Gregory XII in 1415.

Despite its common usage in discussion of papal resignations, the term "abdication" is not used in the official documents of the Church for resignation by a pope.

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