ROMAN RUMORS: A RESIGNATION AND A DOCUMENT ON STATUS OF POPES EMERITUS?
Maria Antonietta Calabro, a Rome-based, well-respected journalist at the highly-esteemed Italian newspaper, Corriere della Sera, tweeted yesterday a link to her piece in Italian in the Huffington Post entitled, “Francis could promulgate a norm on the status of “pope emeritus.” Subtitle: “New rumors about a resignation by Bergoglio said to be working on a discipline of a role after resignation.”* Tweets with replies by M.Antonietta Calabrò (@maria_mcalabro) / Twitter
She also quoted Antonio Socci who on August 23 wrote a piece on a possible papal resignation in liberoquotidiano.it** English translations of both are below.
These are indeed interesting times!
It is not the first time in the past 8 years that a resignation by Pope Francis was “imminent” or “on the horizon.” The resignation of a Pope, a new conclave, the existence together of two possible emeritus popes, all of this is an amazing hypothesis. Now, some are saying this is a hypothesis closer to reality.
Pope Francis has spoken often about his papacy being “a brief one.” What does ‘brief’ mean to Francis? A couple of years? Something less than 10 years?
Obviously, Pope Francis’ July 4 colon surgery led a lot of us, media and faithful alike, to look at the Holy Father in a new way. I will confess that I, in particular, followed his surgery and post-op period with a great interest because I had a similar, though far more serious, operation a number of years ago. I remember what followed that operation for many, many months. Even now, all these years later, certain affects of that operation remain.
However, if you look at Pope Francis now, we see a Pope that has, at least outwardly, recovered well. Remember this photo from last week’s general audience?
We see plans for travels in September. We see him at the Wednesday general audiences and at the Sunday Angelus, and all seems well. There are very few other public appointments during the week but we have seen him make numerous videos in recent weeks with messages for various groups. He will be 85 in December and that is obviously a huge consideration in looking at his health, his energy level, etc.
Could the Pope be considering resignation? I have learned not to be surprised by things that Francis is predicted to do or write. He is known to be his own man and make his own decisions.
One answer to ‘could he resign?’ is ‘yes, that is very possible.’
Every time I’ve heard the word ‘resign’ linked to his name, I’ve told people I felt it would not happen while Pope emeritus Benedict XVI was still alive. And yet, those very words….if Benedict was still alive…. make it seem more possible than hypothetical that Francis would think of writing something on emeritus Popes!
If indeed he is envisioning both a resignation and especially a document on Popes emeritus, I might feel better about both if I thought he had consulted with either the College of Cardinals or the bishops of the world (especially on a document). In particular the College of Cardinals because that is always where a new Pope comes from. Hopefully Francis is not envisioning doing either one alone.
I only have three words at this point: Only God knows!
* The following English translation of the Calabro piece was provided by Bob Moynihan of The Moynihan Letters:
“Stay tuned, state sintonizzati.” On August 1, 2021, the dean of American Vaticanists John Allen urged his readers to keep their ears open and alert for a possible August surprise, the Vatican equivalent of the October surprise that in American politics falls the month before the vote to choose the new president of the United States.
Perhaps this article is the origin of the assumptions and rumors — as Antonio Socci writes today in Libero (link; and published in its entirety below) — of the imminent resignation of Pope Francis.
So what is going on? Clearly, a climate is being recreated (but strongly still among a minority today, compared to what happened with Ratzinger, even in the mass media) similar to the climate that was created in the last year of Benedict XVI’s pontificate [Note: in 2012; Benedict resigned on February 11, 2013].
This takes place against a backdrop: a major financial scandal, that of the London palace which even involved the Vatican Secretariat of State (in 2012, the scandal looming in the background was “only” the IOR, the Vatican’s bank), with a trial just opened against 10 defendants, including Cardinal Angelo Becciu.
Death threats [against Pope Francis] have also arrived — as happened for Ratzinger: two different mailings of envelopes with bullets addressed to Pope Francis, the first intercepted on 9 August.
All seasoned with speculations on Bergoglio’s state of health, given that he underwent a colon operation on July 4th.
The pontiff’s “frail health” despite his “iron constitution” however, disappointed those who expected the discovery of cancer: the surgery was “decisive” and it is not enough – for those who are predicting an imminent physical collapse – to speculate on the fact that the Pope’s (post-operative July health) bulletins were issued by the Vatican Press Office and not from the Gemelli Polyclinic hospital, where the surgery was performed.
Of course, Pope Francis is an elderly man, who will turn 85 in December, but who also openly said in a (February 27) interview that he will never leave Rome (“I spent seventy-eight years in Argentina”).
In reality, a legislative change could soon occur that, yes, greatly worries the supporters of the “Pope Emeritus.” [Note: Pope Emeritus Benedict]
Pope Francis could soon promulgate a new law (in the form of an Apostolic Constitution) to regulate the resignation of the Pope, and especially the status following the resignation of a Pontiff.
This is also to avoid a whole series of misleading interpretations on the existence of two Popes, on their cohabitation, on the thesis of “an enlarged papacy” and on other issues that, although not having touched the vast majority of the faithful, have fed the underground poisons of the so-called “Pope-vacantists,” [Note: “Pope” or “Papacy Vacantists”] who have come to hypothesize that the only true Pope is Ratzinger.
In short, it is not even excluded, although it would be sensational, that for the new law there has been no Pope Emeritus at all.
** Moynihan also translated the Socci piece: Scroll down to half-way point on page: Letter #92, 2021, Monday, August 23: Calabrò – Inside The Vatican