Pope Francis preparing the public for his resignation, says Vatican expert

Pope Francis resignation

Pope Francis is preparing the public for his stepping down in 2025, by constantly talking about his ill health and possible resignation, according to a Vatican expert.

Robert Mickens is the editor of the Roman Catholic newspaper La Croix International. He has lived, studied and worked in Rome for 30 years.

Mickens told inews he expects Pope Francis to pre-announce his resignation in October 2023, at the final synod gathering of bishops, with his term to end in 2025.

Mr Mickens said: “There are no rumours, but in my gut, I expect he will give his two years of notice at this event. He’s preparing people for the possibility that he will resign, so it’s not so shocking when it comes about.”

Some religious commentators also believe that Pope Francis’ decision to retire could set a “new norm”, making him the third Pope to do so in history.

Pope Francis’ predecessor, Benedict XVI, was the first pope to resign in more than 600 years when he stepped down in 2013, citing poor health.

Deacon and political commentator Calvin Robinson said: “It used to be that the Chair of St Peter meant service for life. The bishop of Rome, once elected, would occupy the role of obligation until such time as the Lord ended his tenure.

“It is a very contemporary idea to see this vocation as a job like any other, that one resigns from by choice. However, the precedent has been set. Benedict XVI was only the second Pope to retire, and if Francis wee to do the same, it might set a new norm.”

On the subject of the Pope’s health, sources told Mr Mickens that the 85-year-old Argentinian looked “really bad” on the flight home to Rome following his six-day tour of Canada.

Pope Francis remarked on his return from this trip, “the door is open” to stepping down if his health issues prevent him from completing his duties.

Francis said he currently intends to continue to serve, but when he does step down – if at all – the decision will be guided by God.

The pontiff also commented about a trip to Kazakstan planned for September, saying, “That wouldn’t be too rigorous a journey.”

Mr Mickens said he believes the Pope’s wheelchair will become a permanent fixture, making working life more difficult.

“It’s obvious he’s got to cut things back, and the wheelchair is going to be a permanent fixture. With his age and weight, it will be difficult for him to gain mobility.

“I don’t think there’s any kind of surgery that can address the situation.

“We don’t even know the impact of the surgery on his colon last summer, and he could have something else wrong that we don’t know about.”



Additional reading

News category: Great reads, Palmerston, World.

Tags: , ,