The upcoming election and (nearly) unprecedented abdication of Pope Benedict XVI raises several fascinating questions. What if he changes his mind next week? Can he withdraw his resignation? What do you call an ex-Pope? Pope Emeritus? Your Former Holiness? It’s also worth noting that Benedict changed the rule on papal elections to require a 2/3 majority in the conclave. John Paul II had instituted a rule that would (after a certain number of ballots) permit less than 2/3 of the eligible cardinals to elect a Pope.
From a trademark angle, a papal election means another free-for-all on possible papal domain names. Last time around, somebody grabbed up every address that could be used if you assumed that the new Pope would pick a name that was chosen before. He then donated Benedict XVI’s name to the Vatican–apparently he just wanted to keep the names out of the hands of a critic of Catholicism. Perhaps the same guy is doing that now. Nothing stops you from getting in on this gold rush though, unless the new Pope crosses us up and pick an entirely new name.