Despite fragile health, the pope will not resign

Source: FSSPX News


Rome, February 13. On this Sunday with no car allowed in Rome, the faithful came in droves to see John-Paul II recite the Angelus, from the window of the Papal Apartments. In a fairly comprehensible voice, the Holy Father greeted the faithful in Italian with a “dear brothers and sisters” accompanied by enthusiastic applause. He restated his intention to remain at the head of the Church, despite his illness, thus responding to the recent rumors of his eventual resignation.

Appearing for the first time since his hospitalization, the pope, who will turn 85 next May, declared to the faithful that he has “always needed their help before the Lord to accomplish the mission Jesus had confided [to him]”.  Emphasizing the importance of the Lenten season, the pope recalled: “We do not enter eternal life without carrying our cross, in union with Christ”, adding: “one does not attain happiness and peace without courageously fighting the interior battle”. His message was read by the Substitute of the Secretariat of State, Msgr. Leonardo Sandri.

At the Angelus of February 20, the pope seemed to be doing better. Despite the cold weather and for the first time since his hospitalization, he read in its entirety the 17 lines of his message and greeted the thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square in Italian and Slovenian. He did not, however, recite the Marian prayer, leaving this task to the Substitute of the Secretariat of State.

At the general audience of Wednesday, February 23, John-Paul II gave a televised greeting to the faithful in the Paul VI Hall. From the library of his apartments, he spoke in several languages; his speech and breathing were particularly labored. The audience lasted less than half an hour, for neither the pope nor his collaborators gave the traditional catechesis. The previous general audience went back to Wednesday, January 26.

The idea of an eventual resignation has been dismissed; nevertheless influential personalities in the Vatican admit that in view of the fragile health of the Sovereign Pontiff, of his difficulties in moving and speaking, it remains a serious question.

In Germany, in an interview with the ARD television station, the ultra-progressive theologian Hans Küng has called for his resignation: “A pope can resign for the well-being and necessity of the Church. I think such a case has occurred”, he said and added: “We cannot continue like this”. Hans Küng has been forbidden to teach at the Catholic University of Tübingen in Germany since 1979.

In Brazil, the archbishop emeritus of São Paulo also spoke out in favor of the pope’s resignation. In an interview given to the daily O Estado de São Paulo, Cardinal Paulo Evaristo Arns stated that other Brazilian bishops shared this opinion. In the past, the prelate – who was one of the promoters of liberation theology – has criticized the Curia for its excessive centralization and bureaucracy. “When the pope is not available, it’s the Roman Curia which decides”, he concluded in this interview.