ROME, Italy — Pope Francis has sought to squelch rumors of a possible papal resignation, insisting that he does not have this on his “agenda.”
Pope Benedict XVI “had the courage to do it because he did not feel up to continuing due to his health,” the pontiff told members of the Jesuit order in a Q&A session published Thursday, but this “does not at all mean that resigning popes should become, let’s say, a ‘fashion,’ a normal thing.”
“I for the moment do not have that on my agenda,” he added.
Pope Francis with Congo & South Sudan Jesuits says papal resignations should not be norm & ‘for the moment do not have that on my agenda,’ his turning down bishop appointments & the ‘Church is not a multinational spirituality corporation.’ Via @CivCatt_En https://t.co/NA591udcWU
— Marie Coronel (@10NewsCoronel) February 16, 2023
The pope went on to explain his belief that popes are elected for life rather than for a finite term.
“I believe that the pope’s ministry is ad vitam,” he said, employing the Latin expression meaning “for life.”
“I see no reason why it should not be so,” he continued. “Think that the ministry of the great patriarchs is always for life! And the historical tradition is important.”
“If, on the other hand, we are listening to the ‘chatter,’ well, then we should change popes every six months!” he declared, in reference to repeated rumors that he is considering stepping down.
As he has done on other occasions, Francis acknowledged that he had written a resignation letter shortly after being elected and delivered this letter to then-secretary of state Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
“I don’t know where this letter is. I did it in case I had some health problem that would prevent me from exercising my ministry and I am not fully conscious and able to resign,” he said.
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