Is Pope Francis going to retire like his predecessor, Pope Benedict?
In an interview with Vatican Insider, the Pontiff didn’t completely rule it out.
A Pope deciding to retire is by no mean an everyday occurrence, to say the least.
Pope Francis, 77, previously the archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, began his papacy in March 2013, after Pope Benedict XVI submitted his resignation because of health issues. Most modern-era Popes have held the position as the leader of the Catholic Church for life. Benedict was apparently the first Pope to step down since Pope Gregory XII in the year 1415, and the first one to do it voluntarily since Pope Celestine V in 1294.
Pope Francis enjoys worldwide popularity for his acts of compassion, open-mindedness, outreach efforts, and for his modest personal lifestyle.
Commenting on a possible retirement as he flew home to Vatican City earlier this week from Israel, Pope Francis told reporters who accompanied him on the plane flight the following:
“I will do what the Lord tells me to do. Pray and try to follow God’s will. Benedict XVI no longer had the strength and honestly, as a man of faith, humble as he is, he took this decision. Seventy years ago, Popes Emeritus didn’t exist. What will happen with Popes Emeritus? We need to look at Benedict XVI as an institution, he opened a door, that of the Popes Emeritus. The door is open, whether there will be others, only God knows. I believe that if a bishop of Rome feels he is losing his strength, he must ask himself the same questions Pope Benedict XVI did.”
A Pope Francis retirement doesn’t seem to be on the table anytime soon, however, as he continues to move forward with his busy schedule. On Sunday, for example, Pope Francis will preside over the Catholic Charismatic Renewal celebration at Rome’s Olympic Stadium, and in August, he is scheduled to visit South Korea.
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