Tags: MidPoint | Pope Francis | Religion | Pope Francis | brief | time | papacy

Vatican Journalists: Benedict Showed Francis It's OK to Retire

By    |   Monday, 16 Mar 2015 08:59 PM

Pope Francis saying his time as pontiff could be "brief" is in line with the thinking of his predecessor, Pope Benedict, who chose retirement in 2013 over the custom of holding the papacy until death, two journalists who cover the Vatican told Newsmax TV on Monday.

"He supports what Benedict did and he sees that as an opening," Newsmax Vatican correspondent Edward Pentin told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner during a panel discussion about Francis' latest attention-getting remark.

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Francis was not telling people that his voluntary exit as head of the Catholic Church is imminent, however, said Father James Mulford, publisher of the ZENIT News Agency in Rome.

"He was just saying that he is the person in charge and he's going to make the decision about himself, and that he wouldn't think twice if he thought himself incapacitated in any form to step down," said Mulford.

Francis told a Mexican broadcaster, "I have the feeling that my pontificate will be brief — four or five years, even two or three. Two have already passed. It's a somewhat strange sensation," he said.

The Vatican published an English-language translation of the interview on Friday, the second anniversary of Francis assuming the papacy. In the interview, Francis also credited his predecessor for "courageously" opening the door to the concept of "Popes emeritus."

Mulford advised to not read too far into what was an offhand comment to a quick question.

"He spoke much longer on other things," said Mulford, adding, "I won't say the Pope was speaking tongue-in-cheek, but he wasn't giving it quite as much as importance as we are."

The Argentinian prelate who emerged as a surprise pick to lead the church has continued to turn heads with his progressive-sounding riffs on topics such as homosexuality and income inequality.

Polls show he is popular among Catholics and non-Catholics alike who perceive him as open and approachable.

His outspokenness, coupled with changes in ministry and church finances, has stirred some tensions internally, with more conservative prelates worried that Francis could undermine church teachings.

But Pentin doubted that internal disagreement is the reason for Francis talking about a possibly brief stay in office.

"He genuinely feels that his time is limited," said Pentin. "He is 78, after all, and so he wants to get a lot done in that time."

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Pope Francis saying his time as pontiff could be "brief" is in line with the thinking of his predecessor, Pope Benedict, who chose retirement in 2013 over the custom of holding the papacy until death, two journalists who cover the Vatican told Newsmax TV on Monday.
Pope Francis, brief, time, papacy, Benedict, OK to retire, Vatican
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Monday, 16 Mar 2015 08:59 PM
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