abdication

Act of resigning or renouncing a benefice or clerical dignity; every such office may be resigned by the incumbent. The benefice must be resigned into the hands of the proper ecclesiastical superior. Abdication must be voluntary, and free from simony. Papal abdication should be made into the hands of the College of Cardinals, since that body must elect a successor. The following popes abdicated

Pius VII signed a conditional abdication in 1804, before setting out for France to crown Napoleon, to take effect if he were imprisoned.