Skip to comments.As a Man Grows Older: Papal Milestones Prompt Celebration, Speculation
Posted on 04/13/2012 7:04:14 AM PDT by marshmallow
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI's 85th birthday, April 16, and the seventh anniversary of his election, April 19, are obviously occasions for wishing the pope well and reflecting on the events of his reign thus far. Inevitably, however, these milestones also prompt speculation about what Vatican officials and observers refer to diplomatically as "papal transition."
Pope Benedict, after all, is already the sixth-oldest pope since the 1400s, when records became available. It has been almost two years since he told a German interviewer, "My forces are diminishing" and that, when it comes to public appearances, "I wonder whether I can make it even from a purely physical point of view."
Last fall, the pope stopped walking in processions up the main aisle of St. Peter's and started riding a mobile platform instead; in March, it was revealed that he sometimes walks with a cane. The pope's schedule grew lighter last year, as he stopped meeting one-on-one with most visiting bishops. During this year's Holy Week liturgies, television viewers around the world could see unmistakable signs of fatigue on the pontiff's face.
While none of this suggests that the pope does not have years of life ahead of him, a number of commentators have asked in print, and many more have done so off the record, if he might be getting ready to step down. Pope Benedict himself has said that a pope might have an "obligation to resign" once he "is no longer physically, psychologically, and spiritually capable of handling the duties of his office." Americans may be especially inclined toward such speculation at the moment, encouraged by last month's release of the Italian movie "We Have a Pope," in which a fictional pontiff flees from the demands of office.
As tempting as filmmakers and journalists might find......
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There is no such position in the Catholic hierarchy as "Pope Emeritus". A pope is a pope for life, until God calls him home. I don't know how they would change that doctrine.
Pope Celestine the V (IIRC) issued the canonical decree allowing a pope to resigned and then he reisgned. I believe he lived out the rest of his life in a monestary. No modern pope has ever resigned, but he could if so chose.
Pope Celestine the V (IIRC) issued the canonical decree allowing a pope to resigne and then he reisgned. I believe he lived out the rest of his life in a monestary. No modern pope has ever resigned, but he could if so chose.
Pope Celestine the V (IIRC) issued the canonical decree allowing a pope to resign and then he resigned. I believe he lived out the rest of his life in a monestary. No modern pope has ever resigned, but he could if so chose.
WOW...sorry for the quadrapost!
According to Canon Law (Canon 332, No. 2), a pope is permitted to retire if he wishes. However, the Church hopes that he remain until his death.