Rorate Caeli

Italian rumor: Pope considering resigning in April 2012?...

This same rumor was put forward repeatedly during the last decade of the pontificate of John Paul II - can anything like it be taken seriously? From Antonio Socci, writing for Italian daily Libero (mentioned by Andrea Tornielli for La Stampa).

Papal resignation… Let us pray that God may preserve him for us for a long time

25 September 2011

For the moment, it is a rumor (a personal hypothesis of Joseph Ratzinger) and I hope it will never become news. Yet, because it circulates in the most important halls of the Vatican, it deserves great attention.

In a word: the Pope does not exclude the possibility of resigning when turning 85, that is, in April 2012.
[UPDATE:] - (Reuters) - The Vatican dismissed an Italian newspaper report on Sunday that Pope Benedict was considering resigning next year when he turns 85.

"The pope's health is excellent," Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said. "We don't know anything about it. Ask the person who wrote it."


  1. Anonymous2:33 PM

    Now this worries me!!!

    I don't even want to think about it.

    I have been feeling some anxiety about this whole thing since the Pope visited Celestine V tomb.

    Lord Jesus Christ please let this not be true!

  2. Anonymous2:35 PM

    There are well founded rumors, that the Vatican has prepaired a Appartment for the retired Pope in Subiaco monastery.

  3. Anonymous2:58 PM


  4. Prof. Basto3:10 PM


  5. We may need further clarification here - does he mean resigning or re-signing?

  6. Anonymous3:50 PM

    The source of this rumor: Fr. Georg Ratzinger

  7. Henry3:57 PM

    Why would anyone take blatantly wishful thinking and rumor-mongering seriously enough to worry about it?

  8. Anonymous3:58 PM

    If he really does that he will finally destruct the papacy. Look at this pictures, how he he is already treated disrespectful now by the prelates and cardinals in Germany. "collegiality" at its best:

  9. Anonymous4:17 PM

    Let us try to put this issue with some clarity. Read what the Pope said to Peter Sewald in "Light Of The World" he said when a pope can no longer carry his duties then he can and should and would resign. Although it would be hard for us to see this I would myself prefer him to resign rather than to undermine his health and die from stress. We all need to put his ultimate welfare above our own personal feelings.

  10. Thats all we need. Multiple living popes in the electronic age so that "retired" ones can be quoted as disagreeing with the current ones.

    This is a recipe for disaster. I think Dante had it right when he pictured the last pope who resigned as residing in Hell. You can't retire from such a vocation no more than I can retire from being a parent or a husband. It is a triumph of the ego to do such.

    I find this rumor tremendously disturbing.

  11. Anonymous4:26 PM

    Let us above all things try to put this in perspective if it is really true. The Pope already said in "Light Of The World" that if and when he can no longer fulfill his duties than he should can and will retire though this has not been done since Celestine V. Also I think I would prefer that he resign happily at age 85 rather than die bitter and stressed out at the age of 86. Can you not see how thin he is these days?

  12. Anonymous4:26 PM

    Your Holiness, none of us wish you any ill will at all and leaving the church rudderless would not be the appropriate thing to do in these times - IMO, of course. You are in a great position to begin the restoration of all things in Christ. Once again, I remind you that you have a small army waiting in the wings to help you if you will only let them. May the Holy Spirit guide and protect you and may He be the one to decide when you have had enough.


  13. Anonymous4:36 PM

    Why should a man who allowed his desire to retire be sublimated to obedience to the last Pope, time after time, suddenly change his course even more dramatically to resist the will of the Lord? It is well known that Ratzinger does not discount the possibility of a papal resignation in circumstances say of incapacity, but that is a very different thing than what is here being rumoured. Surely we should resist the temptation to concern ourselves about things which haven't happened yet, and are of questionable likelihood anyway. Faith and hope, let's have courage in God's providence instead.

  14. Even if he resigns, someone younger like Card. Burke or Card. Juan Sandoval Íñiguez could take his place. I am not sure whether the college of cardinals would elect these orthodox cardinals from the U.S. or Mexico, but it's a possibility.

  15. Gratias4:51 PM

    The Curia is working Benedict XVI too hard. A resignation would be one of the worst things that could happen to the Church. The worst one, of course, would be a Vatican Council III.

    Holy Father, we are praying for a long life for you from all corners of the world. The will of God must be followed.

  16. IMHO, I think the Holy Father is using this idea as a ploy to draw out into public view and scrutiny those who have been secretly working against him. Then He will unleash the dogs of war and wrath upon them! I hope!

  17. Anonymous5:25 PM

    This rumor is wrong. "Der Spiegel" reports (in German):,1518,788294,00.html

  18. Anonymous5:29 PM

    Well I will say this on this matter if this rumor came from Fr. Georg Ratzinger than it has to be taken with a grain of salt because he was being interviewed before his brother's 2006 visit to his native Bavaria and he said that would be the his last trip to Germany which as you can see turned out to be totally wrong. I would not think he would talk about going to Brazil in 2013 if he is retiring next April.

  19. J. G. Ratkaj5:30 PM

    This would cause incalculable consequences. The remaining authority of the roman pontiff would be damaged seriously, following pontiffs would be coerced to do the same and be directed to this fatal precedent. Even a totally handicapped pope harms the office less than retreating from the roman throne. Blessed Pope John Paul II knew this to well.

  20. Anonymous5:43 PM

    Henry why worry???
    Because it could happen.

  21. Anonymous5:51 PM

    I agree with Gratias the Roman Curia is working Pope Benedict XVI too hard.

    I mean his schedule is just too much, traveling and all.

  22. Hans Coessens7:05 PM

    It is absolutely disgusting the way they treated the Vicar of Christ in that video uploaded by Anon. 5

    Pray for the Holy Father. He is certainly hated among His apostles. Our Lady of Akita was right. All do penance for the Holy Father.

  23. Anonymous7:06 PM

    These comments here saying something like: 'it's better to resign than dying of stress...' are simply ridiculous. Imagine St. Paul thinking: 'I travel too much, I must rest.' He is Pope, you lazy couch potato!

  24. "I mean his schedule is just too much, traveling and all."

    I completely agree with you, Anon. There is no way that all this traveling is really necessary.

    For those who complain - this is a RUMOR mentioned today and we made sure to emphasize that it is a rumor, which is quite evident from the very nature of the information. Anyway, Socci and Tornielli are not completely irrelevant people - just, please, do not shoot the Rorate messenger,

  25. Anonymous7:29 PM

    It sickened me to watch that video of the Holy Father being snubbed by half of those prelates. Absolutely no respect for the Vicar of Christ.


  26. Anonymous8:20 PM

    "Vatican dismisses talk of Pope resigning in 2012"

  27. About that video by Anonymous 15:58:
    I think this was a protocol fail and not a "snubbing" by the bishops. At least some of those had greeted the pope earlier or even flown with him from Rome. Cardinal Brandmüller or Monsignor Gänswein are certainly not people who want to snub the pope. But it would not make sense for them to shake his hands again for the TV cameras. This was the president greeting the pope's delegation, and the pope not knowing what to do.