Explainer

“I think people would understand”: Is Pope Francis ready to retire?

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Nearly a decade ago, thousands of the faithful packed inside St. Peter’s Square, awaiting the signs of a new spiritual leader – Pope Francis. During his tenure, the South American leader has been a force to reckon with in the Catholic Church. However, a recent injury and his plans to appoint new cardinals have many speculating about the future of his pontificate.  

“Pope Francis has sparked retirement rumors,” CBS Late Show host Stephen Colbert joked. “Oh, we’ve seen this before. He says he’s retiring. Next, he’s taking the Buccaneers to the Super Bowl.”

The Pope’s influence on the church

Francis took the helm after Pope Benedict XVI shockingly retired in 2013 as the Vatican was fending off child sexual abuse scandals and investigating corruption inside its sacred walls. 

His first order of business as the head of the church was to take a papal voyage to Brazil to position himself as “The People’s Pope.” 

While Francis is extremely popular within the church, he has not escaped controversy. Most recently, the pontiff faced criticism for not immediately condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin for invading Ukraine. 

Francis’s knee injury limits his mobility 

Francis is now fighting to stay mobile. For several months, he has used a wheelchair to get around as he continues therapy for an injured knee. That knee injury forced him to postpone his trip to Africa this summer. 

In addition, he plans to visit L’Aquila, Italy, in August, the resting place of Celestine V, a pope that resigned after roughly six months on the job in 1294. Interestingly enough, Pope Benedict XVI also visited L’Aquila months before his retirement. Meanwhile, Pope Francis’s trip will coincide with the appointment of 21 cardinals; 16 will be eligible to vote in a papal conclave. 

Is this signally that Pope Francis is ready to step aside?

”Mentally, he seems to be very, very sharp, which is a key thing, and he’s brought a very different style to the pontificate,” Rev. Francis “Rocky” Hoffman said to NewsNation. “And, he’s been deliberate in choosing cardinals from places that would never have a cardinal. So, I think he’s been very consistent to get broader participation in the church. So, we pray for him. We hope he continues, but I think people would understand if he says it’s time for the next guy.”

Here’s why the cardinal appointments are crucially important:

According to The Vatican, there are a total of 208 cardinals within the Catholic Church –116 are cardinal electors and 92 are non-electors. Cardinal electors are under the age of 80 and can participate in a papal conclave consisting of 120 cardinals who are responsible for electing the next pope. 

So far, Pope Francis has appointed 67 of 120 cardinal electors, seemingly leaving his mark on the church no matter what his future holds.  

 

JIMMIE JOHNSON: THIS WAS THE SCENE IN SAINT PETER’S SQUARE – NEARLY A DECADE AGO. 

THE WORLD – EXPRESSING EXCITEMENT FOR A NEW POPE. 

AND IN THE YEARS SINCE – THE LATIN AMERICAN HAS BEEN A DYNAMIC LEADER IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.

BUT A RECENT INJURY AND HIS PLANS FOR CREATING NEW CARDINALS HAVE MANY SPECULATING ABOUT THE FUTURE OF HIS PAPACY. 

STEPHEN COLBERT:“Pope Francis has sparked retirement rumors. Oh we’ve seen this before… He says he’s retiring next he’s taking the Buccaneers to the Super Bowl.”

JOHNSON: IF THERE’S JUST ONE NAME PEOPLE ARE WATCHING CLOSELY – IT’S POPE FRANCIS. 

ELECTED AFTER POPE BENEDICT XVI SHOCKINGLY RETIRED – HE TOOK OVER AT A TIME WHEN THE VATICAN WAS INVESTIGATING CORRUPTION AND DEEPLY MIRED IN A CHILD SEX ABUSE SCANDAL. 

HIS FIRST PAPAL VOYAGE WAS TO BRAZIL – A MOVE MEANT TO HIGHLIGHT HIS POSITION AS “THE PEOPLE’S POPE”.

BUT FRANCIS HAS NOT ESCAPED CRITICISM – MOST RECENTLY WHEN HE REFUSED TO CONDEMN RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN FOR HIS COUNTRY’S INVASION OF UKRAINE.

FAST FORWARD TO 20-22 AND THE ONCE HIGHLY MOBILE PONTIFF HAS BEEN CONFINED TO A WHEELCHAIR. 

AND EVEN POSTPONED A PLANNED TRIP TO AFRICA AS HE CONTINUES THERAPY FOR AN INJURED KNEE. 

AND RECENT PLANS TO APPOINT MORE THAN A DOZEN CARDINALS LATER THIS YEAR COULD SIGNAL FRANCIS MAY BE READY TO STEP DOWN.

REV. FRANCIS “ROCKY” HOFFMAN: ”Mentally, he seems to be very, very sharp which is a key thing and he’s brought a very different style to the pontificate and he’s been deliberate in choosing cardinals from places that would never have a cardinal. I think he’s been very consistent on that to get a broader participation in the church. So, we pray for him, we hope he continues but I think people would understand if he says it’s time for the next guy.

JOHNSON: THE APPOINTMENTS ARE IMPORTANT AND HERE’S WHY: 

THERE ARE CURRENTLY 208 CARDINALS. 

116 ARE ELIGIBLE TO VOTE IN A PAPAL CONCLAVE WHICH LIMITS ELECTORS TO 120.  

67 ELIGIBLE CARDINALS HAVE BEEN APPOINTED BY POPE FRANCIS. 

AND 16 MORE WILL JOIN IN AUGUST. 

IT WOULD SET HIM UP TO HAVE INFLUENCE ON WHO BECOMES THE NEXT POPE – EVEN AFTER HE LEAVES THE VATICAN. 

SO IS THE PONTIFF STACKING CARDINALS IN HIS FAVOR? 

ONLY HIS HOLINESS KNOWS. 

MAKING POPE FRANCIS JUST ONE NAME YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY! 

 

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Nearly a decade ago, thousands of the faithful packed inside St. Peter’s Square, awaiting the signs of a new spiritual leader – Pope Francis. During his tenure, the South American leader has been a force to reckon with in the Catholic Church. However, a recent injury and his plans to appoint new cardinals have many speculating about the future of his pontificate.  

“Pope Francis has sparked retirement rumors,” CBS Late Show host Stephen Colbert joked. “Oh, we’ve seen this before. He says he’s retiring. Next, he’s taking the Buccaneers to the Super Bowl.”

The Pope’s influence on the church

Francis took the helm after Pope Benedict XVI shockingly retired in 2013 as the Vatican was fending off child sexual abuse scandals and investigating corruption inside its sacred walls. 

His first order of business as the head of the church was to take a papal voyage to Brazil to position himself as “The People’s Pope.” 

While Francis is extremely popular within the church, he has not escaped controversy. Most recently, the pontiff faced criticism for not immediately condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin for invading Ukraine. 

Francis’s knee injury limits his mobility 

Francis is now fighting to stay mobile. For several months, he has used a wheelchair to get around as he continues therapy for an injured knee. That knee injury forced him to postpone his trip to Africa this summer. 

In addition, he plans to visit L’Aquila, Italy, in August, the resting place of Celestine V, a pope that resigned after roughly six months on the job in 1294. Interestingly enough, Pope Benedict XVI also visited L’Aquila months before his retirement. Meanwhile, Pope Francis’s trip will coincide with the appointment of 21 cardinals; 16 will be eligible to vote in a papal conclave. 

Is this signally that Pope Francis is ready to step aside?

”Mentally, he seems to be very, very sharp, which is a key thing, and he’s brought a very different style to the pontificate,” Rev. Francis “Rocky” Hoffman said to NewsNation. “And, he’s been deliberate in choosing cardinals from places that would never have a cardinal. So, I think he’s been very consistent to get broader participation in the church. So, we pray for him. We hope he continues, but I think people would understand if he says it’s time for the next guy.”

Here’s why the cardinal appointments are crucially important:

According to The Vatican, there are a total of 208 cardinals within the Catholic Church –116 are cardinal electors and 92 are non-electors. Cardinal electors are under the age of 80 and can participate in a papal conclave consisting of 120 cardinals who are responsible for electing the next pope. 

So far, Pope Francis has appointed 67 of 120 cardinal electors, seemingly leaving his mark on the church no matter what his future holds.  

 

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