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Benedict's Precedent
Pope Francis to Quit Early?
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  • Andrew Allison

    Maybe it’s not so much a question of age as of time in office — I suspect that every Pope comes to the office with the authority of infallibility, which gradually gets whittled away by the entrenched bureaucracy. There’s also the problem, so apparent in our own government, that the length of time for which power is exercised is as corrupting as its amount.

  • Corlyss

    Hmmmm. The papacy as a job with term limits just like any other elected official. Whadda conzept!

    • Andrew Allison

      If only! If we can’t trust a President with more than two terms, why in heck are we giving lifetime sinecures to Congress, et al?

  • FriendlyGoat

    I hope Francis will stay as long as he can, because when he passes away or steps down there will be enormous pressure to elect someone more devoted to merely going through the motions of Vatican tradition.

  • charlesrwilliams

    This post vastly overestimates the power of the curia. Well, maybe it is corrupt, maybe it is self-serving, but the Church is not operated out of Rome as if the Vatican were the headquarters of a global corporation. The primary impact of the Vatican on the life of a billion Catholics is through the appointment of diocesan bishops. A pope may set an example, a pope may inspire, a pope may help resolve conflict, a pope may teach in a profound way, on rare occasions a pope may call a council or make an ex cathedra pronouncement about some element of Catholic doctrine. But the pope is not a CEO.

    What does the curia do anyway? They handle appeals from lower tribunals, they issue documents that generally are not binding, they pass judgment on theologians who may be straying from orthodoxy, they answer technical questions about liturgical matters and sacramental practice, they investigate problems and disputes that may arise within religious orders. Yes they handle money, they collect it, they spend it, they redistribute it to other parts of the Church that need it. The amounts are small considering that the Catholic Church is a billion people.

    Now we all know that Pope Francis is an old man with huge responsibilities. Yes, he should retire if he thinks he can’t handle them any longer and if he thinks that this is God’s will. This is common sense and not an earth-shaking change in the Church.

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