Pope John Paul II Considered Resigning, Said Best-Selling 2010 Book

Tuesday, 26 Feb 2013 04:55 PM

By Dale Eisinger

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In the wake of Pope Benedict XVI's announced resignation, it has been "revealed" that his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, also considered stepping down from his post — something that should have been widely known by now.

The news which had been there all along in the best-selling 2010 book "Why He Is a Saint," arguing the case for John Paul's sainthood, was reported by Paterno Esmaquel of Catholic Online. The book contains John Paul's hypothetical resignation letter in which he said that cardinals traditionally step down at age 75.

Because of health reasons — the least of which were two assassination attempts — the pope considered early retirement as far back as the early '90s, according to the book, fully titled "Why He Is a Saint: The Life and Faith of Pope John Paul II and the Case for Canonization" and written by Slawomir Oder, a Polish priest, and Saverio Gaeta, the Vatican newspaper's former editor.

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In two letters John Paul wrote to cardinals, the Pope said they should consider him resigned in the case of infirmity that is "judged to be incurable" and "anything that prevents me adequately from performing the duties of the Petrine ministry."

It was not John Paul's desire to leave the papacy, but he feared his health concerns would force him out.

In 1994, he told doctors, "You must heal me. And I must heal. Because there is no place in the church for a Pope emeritus."

During the last time he led holy week rites, John Paul also said, "Jesus did not descend from the cross. Why should I? I have to make it to the end."

In 2003, the Vatican announced John Paul had Parkinson's disease. He lost most of his hearing and vision and had trouble walking. But he kept his post through all the trouble.

Esmaquel reported that "a tell-tale sign" that John Paul considered retirement was that he would often pray at the tomb of Saint Celestine the Fifth, who issued a decree that allowed pontiffs to quit their posts.

And now, 20 years later, Benedict the XVI, 89, is quitting the papacy, citing health reasons, the extent of which are unclear. He says he will be unable to adequately fulfill the duties of the ministry entrusted to him.

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Pope John Paul II, sometimes referred to as John Paul the Great, died at age 84.

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Malachy Prophecy: Next Pope Will Be Last

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