Vatican dismisses talk of pope resigning in 2012

FREIBURG, Germany Sun Sep 25, 2011 8:38pm IST

Pope Benedict XVI waves after celebrating the Eucharist in the southwest German town of Freiburg, September 25, 2011. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

Pope Benedict XVI waves after celebrating the Eucharist in the southwest German town of Freiburg, September 25, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann

Related Topics

FREIBURG, Germany (Reuters) - The Vatican dismissed an Italian newspaper report on Sunday that Pope Benedict was considering resigning next year when he turns 85.

"The pope's health is excellent," Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said. "We don't know anything about it. Ask the person who wrote it."

Catholic writer Antonio Socci, writing in the Italian newspaper Libero on Sunday, said the pope was considering resigning when he turns 85 next April. He did not cite any sources or reasons.

In a book last year, the pope said he would not hesitate to become the first pontiff to resign willingly in more than 700 years if he felt himself no longer able, "physically, psychologically and spiritually" to run the Catholic Church.

Lombardi noted that the pope was "holding up very well" during the trip to his German homeland. "It's clear that he is still able to deal with very difficult commitments," he said.

Several popes in recent history, including the late Pope John Paul, considered resigning for health reasons instead of ruling for life.

The last pope to resign willingly was Celestine V in 1294 after reigning for only five months. Gregory XII reluctantly abdicated in 1415 to end a dispute with a rival claimant to the Holy See.

(Reporting By Philip Pullella)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (1)
SarahTX2 wrote:
Is he resigning or retiring? Does he lose sovereign immunity if he resigns/retires?

Sep 25, 2011 8:21am IST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Fighting the Islamic State

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Fighting Ebola

Fighting Ebola

Cuban doctors proud to risk lives in mission to halt Ebola.  Full Article 

Baghdad Bombing

Baghdad Bombing

Baghdad restaurant bombs kill 21  Full Article 

Canada On Alert

Canada On Alert

Canada raises terrorism threat level, cites Islamist chatter.  Full Article 

Foreign Threat?

Foreign Threat?

Sweden gets two new sightings, as hunt for undersea intruder goes on.  Full Article 

Iran Nuclear Talks

Iran Nuclear Talks

Exclusive: Iran offers "compromises" in nuclear talks, West unmoved  Full Article 

Prisoner Freed

Prisoner Freed

North Korea unexpectedly frees American Jeffrey Fowle.  Full Article 

Npeal Disaster

Npeal Disaster

Death toll in Nepal's worst trekking disaster reaches 43  Full Article 

Power Failure

Power Failure

Japan's bid to forge national grid stumbles.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage