The decision by the Pope emeritus to step aside was truly historic. The ceremony at Vatican city Thursday had never been seen by a living person, setting up what one church scholar calls an unprecedented scenario when the College of Cardinals chooses the next Pope.
The resignation of Pope Benedict the 16th and his voluntary entry into a life of retirement is a first for the Roman Catholic Church in modern times.
"There is no living person on the planet who has ever gone through the resignation of a pope."
And when the College of Cardinals chooses a new Pope, Tim Thibodeau at Nazareth College says it will create another situation equally historic.
"You'll have two men living in Vatican City: one of whom is the current pope to be elected. The other is the previous pope and that's unprecedented."
The Pope Emeritus pledged his support and obedience to the next Pope, but unlike former presidents, who sometimes venture back into the public eye, Thibodeau says the public may not see the former Pope again.
"Because of his health, his frailty and his mental exhaustion, I really do think he will disappear."
The focus now shifts to the Conclave which could, thanks to rule change from Pope Emeritus Benedict, choose a new pope before Easter Sunday.
"This opens the door to the possibility of the first African, or Asian, or South or Central American Pope."