Keep in mind that some time ago I predicted that Pope Francis, now 77, would resign when he reaches 80 years old. And before any of you go running around declaring that I want him to resign, please note that I simply think that that is what he will do.
I, frankly, am not pleased about this Pope Emeritus thing. I greatly respect Benedict XVI. I think I understand why he abdicated, but I can’t say I am happy about it, for various reasons I need not go into here.
Let’s have look at some things the Holy Father Pope Francis said on the airplane. HERE
First, the Pope Emeritus stuff. It’s a little disjointed, but you can get what he is driving at:
German journalist from KNA:
What type of relationship is there between you and Benedict XVI? Is there an habitual exchange of opinions and ideas? Is there a common project after this encyclical?
We see each other. Before leaving I went to see him. He, two weeks prior, had sent me an interesting text and he asked me an opinion. We have a normal relationship because I go back to this idea and maybe a theologian doesn’t like it. But, I think that the pope emeritus is not an exception. After so many centuries, he’s [Benedict’s] the first emeritus and let’s think that if i am aged and don’t have the strength, but it was a beautiful gesture of nobility and also humility and courage. But, I think that 70 years ago also the bishops emeritus were an exception. They didn’t exist. Today, the bishops emeritus are an institution. [NB] I think that the pope emeritus is already an institution. Why? Our lives are getting longer and at a certain age there is not the capacity to govern well, because the body tires and health perhaps is good but there is the capacity to carry forward all of the problems like those in the governance of the church. I think that Pope Benedict made this gesture of popes emeritus. I repeat that maybe some theologian would say this isn’t just, but i think like this. The centuries will tell if it’s like this or not, we’ll see, but if you can to say to me, ‘but do you think that one day if you don’t feel like it, will you go on?’ But, I would do the same. I would do the same. I will pray, but I would do the same. He opened a door that is institutional not exceptional.
On the other hand, when answering a question about how he handle’s his popularity…
French journalist Anais Martin, French Radio:
In Rio, when the crowd yelled “Francesco, Francesco!” you responded “Cristo, Cristo!” Today, how do you manage this immense popularity? How do you live it?
I don’t know how to tell you. I live it thanking the Lord that his people are happy. I really do that, hoping the best for the people of God. I live it as generosity towards the people. On the inside, I try to think of my sins and my errors not to flatter myself because I know it won’t last long. Two or three years and then (makes a sound and gesture) up to the house of the of the Father.
I have the sense that His Holiness doesn’t think he will be Pope after another 3 years or so, that he will either have died or he will be in bad enough shape that he will resign.
Please pray for His Holiness daily.