The Papacy: An Encyclopedia
Everything you wanted to know about the papacy, including a (now incomplete) “List of Papal Resignations,” from Martin I (954-5) to Gregory XII (1415).
Ref. BX955.2 .D53
New Catholic Encyclopedia
Just for some perspective, find here under “Popes, List of” an online list of all the popes. See the 2011 print supplement for an article on Benedict XVI.
Gale Virtual Reference Library http://bit.ly/V45QBt OR Ref. 841 .N44
The Dante Encyclopedia
One fascinating pope, Celestine V, not only resigned but more dramatically abdicated, and, according to some interpreters of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, wound up consequently in the less comic part of that colorfully imagined afterlife.
Ref. PQ4333 .D36
Women in the Middle Ages: An Encyclopedia
This encyclopedia tells of a presumed pope named Joan (yes, a woman) who was never real enough to either resign or abdicate, but who stimulated a lasting legend.
Credo Reference http://bit.ly/V46kaA
International Index to the Performing Arts
For a humorous take on a fictional pope who, once elected, refused to serve, read reviews here of the recent film Habemus Papam (“We Have a Pope!”); and catch the trailer on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mr8O687r-60
It will take some time for evaluations of Benedict XVI’s legacy to reach the reference books. Scan here for what the world’s newspapers have to say.
The Holy See
And for the Vatican’s own presentation of Benedict XVI and his legacy, periodically check the Vatican website.