Pope turns 85 amid speculation of resignation

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI turned 85 on Monday (April 16) amid renewed speculation about his declining health and … Continued

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI turned 85 on Monday (April 16) amid renewed speculation about his declining health and possible resignation.

The German-born pope has appeared tired and fatigued in recent months and admitted at a morning Mass to being in “the final leg of the path of my life.” But on Sunday, he signaled his resolve to carry on with his duties as leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, asking the faithful to pray that he have the “strength” to “fulfill his mission.”

This week will mark a double milestone for Benedict, with Thursday being the seventh anniversary of his election as pope.

Last October, Benedict started using a movable platform to carry him down the central aisle in St. Peter’s Basilica, and he leaned on a cane before boarding the plane for a recent weeklong trip to Cuba and Mexico. He his now the sixth-oldest pope since at least the 1400s; the oldest, Pope Leo XIII, died in 1903 at age 93.

Talk of possible resignation has been swirling around the pope ever since his 2010 book, “Light of the World,” in which he said that if a pope felt “no longer physically, psychologically, and spiritually capable of carrying out the duties of his office,” he would have “the right, and in some circumstances the obligation, to resign.”

Last month, prominent Italian journalists who are considered Benedict loyalists openly suggested that the pope might resign in the near future, adding new fuel to the rumor mill.

Still, despite sounding hoarse during the intense liturgical schedule of Holy Week, the pope has not canceled any appointments.

Celebrating Mass with a delegation from his native Bavaria on Monday, an emotional Benedict said he was sure God would help him “proceed safely” despite having entered “the final leg of the path of my life.”

“I don’t know what the future holds for me but I know that … God’s good is stronger than all the evil in this world,” he confided.

He later attended a small Bavarian-style festival in the Vatican. Benedict joined bishops and leaders from his native region in singing the Bavarian national hymn and watched as children performed a traditional dance. Benedict was joined by his older brother, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, who flew in last weekend from Germany.

Benedict’s predecessor, Pope John Paul II, died in 2005 at age 84 after years of failing health. After his death, it was revealed John Paul considered resigning twice, on his 75th and 80th birthdays, but decided to continue serving “as long as (Jesus), in the mysterious designs of his providence, will want.”

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Universal Uclick.

More on: ,
  • KBurchfiel

    May he have many more years to come.

  • SODDI

    How much do they spend on those dresses and beanies he wears? Lotta gold there.

  • ChicagoJim

    What a horrible day, April 16, the day that a soon-to-be Nazi then Pope. I left the RCC during the tyranny of Pope John Paul II which was driven by Cardinal Ratzinger, the current ex-Nazi Pope. What a horrible church that will have to reckon with God for destroying my faith.

Read More Articles

colbert
Top 10 Reasons We’re Glad A Catholic Colbert Is Taking Over Letterman’s “Late Show”

How might we love Stephen Colbert as the “Late Show” host? Let us count the ways.

emptytomb
God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

noplaceonearth
An Untold Story of Bondage to Freedom: Passover 1943

How a foxhole that led to a 77-mile cave system saved the lives of 38 Ukrainian Jews during the Holocaust.

shutterstock_148333673
Friend or Foe? Learning from Judas About Friendship with Jesus

We call Judas a betrayer. Jesus called him “friend.”

shutterstock_53190298
Fundamentalist Arguments Against Fundamentalism

The all-or-nothing approach to the Bible used by skeptics and fundamentalists alike is flawed.

shutterstock_178468880
Mary Magdalene, the Closest Friend of Jesus

She’s been ignored, dismissed, and misunderstood. But the story of Easter makes it clear that Mary was Jesus’ most faithful friend.

shutterstock_186795503
The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

shutterstock_185995553
How to Debate Christians: Five Ways to Behave and Ten Questions to Answer

Advice for atheists taking on Christian critics.

HIFR
Heaven Hits the Big Screen

How “Heaven is for Real” went from being an unsellable idea to a bestselling book and the inspiration for a Hollywood movie.

shutterstock_186364295
This God’s For You: Jesus and the Good News of Beer

How Jesus partied with a purpose.

egg.jpg
Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.

SONY DSC
Dear Evangelicals, Please Reconsider Your Fight Against Gay Rights

A journalist and longtime observer of American religious culture offers some advice to his evangelical friends.