The National Catholic Review

UPDATE: Oops. Heard a story was circulating today on this, but did not note the date on this story was from Sept.

Vatican Insider is echoing an Italian daily report that Pope Benedict XVI is planning to resign in April:

Journalist Antonio Socci has confirmed the same in the Italian daily, Libero.

"For now,” Socci writes, “he is saying that this may be true (Joseph Ratzinger’s personal assumption), but I hope the story does not reach the news. But this rumor is circulating high up in the Vatican and therefore deserves close attention. The Pope has not rejected the possibility of his resignation when he turns 85 in April next year.”

Socci recalls that the assumption he will resign, without any hitches, was the same thing Ratzinger talked about in an interview in the book “Luce del mondo” (Light of the World), when, in response to a question by interviewer Peter Seewald, he said: “When a Pope arrives at a clear awareness that he no longer has the physical, mental, or psychological capacity to carry out the task that has been entrusted to him, then he has the right, and in some cases, even the duty to resign.” Furthermore, in another passage, Benedict XVI wondered if he would be able to “withstand it all, just from the physical point of view.”

Socci makes the following observation in today’s edition of Libero: “Today, Pope Benedict seems to be in really good form; just the same, there’s the issue of his age and just how much energy he has left.” But the writer/journalist also recalls another passage from the same book interview, which has to do with the attacks and controversies related to the pedophile priests' scandal: “When there is a great menace, one cannot simply run away from it. That is why, right now, it is definitely not the time to resign.”

“It is actually at moments like these that one needs to resist and overcome difficult situations. One can only resign at a time when things are calm, or simply, when nothing more can be done about it. But one cannot run away right when the threat is alive and say, ‘Let somebody else take care of it.”



Jim McCrea | 3/23/2012 - 6:02pm
And for a moment I thought my prayers had been answered.  Oh, well.

Does this mean that there is no God?
Richard T Rodriguez | 4/2/2012 - 10:06am
If Benedict XVI were to step down as pope,  it would behoove the church to also look outside the ranks of the cardinals. 
david power | 3/23/2012 - 3:04pm
Do I continue with my Novena  or not?
Jim McCrea | 3/28/2012 - 4:05pm
"You speak for many who cringe inside every time somebody refers to John Paul II as 'great.' "

These are the same people who still insist that denial is only that river in Egypt.
David McCarthy | 3/23/2012 - 1:00pm
This story is many months old and has been out and out rejected by those close to him. The Pope is working on his new encyclical on Faith which is expected to come out later this year and is also putting the finishing touches to his third book on Jesus which is set to be released in the autumn. I believe he has just completed or is nearing completion of the 2010 post-synodal apostolic exhortation on the Church in the Middle East which he is to present in Lebanon this September, so there is no chance of him stepping down in the next year, and if he does decide to at some point, I doubt it will happen until after the Year of Faith has ended in late 2013. My guess is that he does not want to be leading the Church past 90 and so I would not put it past him abdicating in the next three years. I hope he just continues on.
Stephen Taylor | 3/23/2012 - 8:58am
If Pope Benedict does resign I wish him God's blessing.  Being Pope is probably one of the most stressful jobs on earth.  Yes, grace enables, but bodies do fail.  He is not a young man.  Plus, think of all the wonderful books he would then be able to write.
Carlos Orozco | 3/22/2012 - 5:39pm
I do not think believe it one bit. Propaganda.
david power | 3/23/2012 - 12:16pm

Depressingly I am in the same boat as yourself.I can't help imagining what is being covered up about even the best of Saints. "He took a special interest in the education of young boys" sets off alarm bells in my head.
We do know at least that in the past it was a much stricter process and not every Tom,Dick and Harry was put forward like today.
Stephen and Mike you both make good arguments.It is just a matter of time before it becomes the norm for Popes to retire and pass the baton on.I hope that the Pope has the courage to follow his heart and mind.   
david power | 3/22/2012 - 5:12pm
Crystal , the last two popes have both visited the "great" synagogue of Rome.
The Chief Rabbi of Rome Di Segni  has often spoken on Italian television and whenever he is questioned on the issues during the war he has always spoken in favour of Pope Pacelli, but he might not know as much as you.
I myself met an old Jewish women in the Ghetto  who had twin daughters born in 1943 and they were born in a convent.She too spoke only good of the Church.  
I don't think that Pope Pacelli was any holier than some joe sweeping the streets but he was a man of conscience and the historical record has nothing to contradict that.
There are so many things that need reforming in the Church and there are enough misdeeds of Popes in recent times that to bring up Pope Pacelli is not going to bring any good.  
Amy Ho-Ohn | 3/23/2012 - 12:12pm
As a matter of personal preference, I admire B16 tremendously and can't imagine feeling the same respect and affection for any possible successor. I'm sure he'll be the best Pope in my lifetime (IMHO.)

I hope this doesn't mean they're planning to bump him off, hide the body and tell the press he retired incognito to a monastery.
Crystal Watson | 3/22/2012 - 4:58pm
I wish he would retire and that someone like Schonborn would be eleected.  That seems doubtful though given that the pope has chosen as cardinals people who think like himself - we'd probably get a Benedict clone instead.  I've been reading a novel in which a different pope was chosen instead of Benedict - a patriach of Venice - who the cardinals think will do nothing but be a place holder, but he surprises them and does all the things a liberal would hope for, including visiting the the Great Synagogue in Rome to apologize for Pius XII and to announce the opening of the Vatican's secret archives dealing with the Holocaust.  If only  :)
Mike Evans | 3/23/2012 - 10:29am
Bishops, deacons and priests are all required by canon law to submit their resignations upon reaching age 75. Pope Benedict is many years overdue. Retired clergy still serve in "supply" and chaplaincy functions but give up all administrative duties. This wisdom is based on the difficulties of old age, sickness, and just plain loss of energy. Who really believes an 84 year old man is full of spunk, liveliness and enthusiasm for his ministry? And how do we address the dangers of creeping loss of mental faculties? Can you imagine a pope with Alzenheimer"s? Besides all that, it would set in motion an orderly process for election of a new pope.
david power | 3/22/2012 - 4:04pm

Wishful thinking.You will be more likely to see me in the Apostolic Palace than Cardinal Schoenborn.If it came true then Scola would be the European favourite and the forced grin himself would be the American option.
The Latin world would have Scherer .If the Holy Spirit managed to break into the Sistine Chapel he would be whispering the name of Martin to one and all and I am not referring to Jim Martin.  
Anne Chapman | 3/22/2012 - 11:23pm
Thank you David Power. You speak for many who cringe inside every time somebody refers to John Paul II as ''great.''  You sum up the reality of this man nicely. How sad that some want to see him called ''saint.''  Because of what he did, and because he is nevertheless on the road to canonization, I now question every single ''saint'' on the calendar. I wasn't alive during most of their lives, and simply accepted that the church knew what it was doing in calling someone ''saint''.  But just as I have learned to my sorrow to no longer automatically trust nor believe anything said by bishops or by those in Rome (including the pope) now I also wonder about the truth of all these ''saints'' of the church.
ed gleason | 3/22/2012 - 3:38pm
If there is a resignation I'm for C. Schonborn Vienna.. aristocrats from birth are taught not to cow-tow. And are not afaid to make changes. and I hear progressive noises.
Crystal Watson | 3/22/2012 - 9:36pm

I don't mean to start a Pius XII argument  :)  but though Benedict did speak at the Great Synagogue, all he did tere was defend the Vatican and Pius XII's actions (or lack thereof). Yes, the chief rabbi basically  said everything was ok, but many others boycotted the pope's visit to the synagogue and the president of Rome's Jewish community spoke against Pius and asked that the archives be opened so there could be an investigation.
Rick Fueyo | 3/22/2012 - 3:26pm
I find this very hard to believe
david power | 3/22/2012 - 9:17pm

Is that the same "great" guy who covered for pedophiles left ,right and centre?The same guy who so lacked humility that he compared himself to Jesus Christ on the cross?Great?Great enabler maybe.
Ask Law how great he was?Maciel is dead but no doubt went to the grave pining for the omerta of Wojtyla.
A guy who said bishops should protect pedophile priests over innocent kids and be considered holy for doing so?

You need to examine your conscience if you align yourself with pedophiles and those who support them.
He carried the responsibility in so much as he got out of bed for four or five hours a day to write his memoirs while never once meeting with a victim of sexual abuse.
You should read the humble labourers "Milestones" where he constantly cribs about being given less than perfect accomodation by universities .
The point of Socci's article for those who know nothing about the carry on in the Vatican is that this German pope was left a Church and Curia up to it's neck in corruption.The Italian media were in on the whole show and the visiting press had to play ball.  
Now the cult of personality is no longer valid we are in Soviet Russia in 1960.Stalin is dead and Kruschev looks nothing like Clark Gable.  
david power | 3/22/2012 - 2:53pm
I am going to pray a novena he stays.He might have his flaws(as we all do) but the college of cardinals looks scary these days.
There is not a single intellectual among them and it would be hard to consider any of them more than glorified yes men.
The Pope is right to be practical and to consider the good of the Church and not see himself in any messianic way (you know what I mean!) but at this moment in time he should use his experience to make the changes that are needed.
He still has a lot of healing work to do around the world and his intellect appears unimpaired.

His best years may be ahead. 
Carlos Orozco | 3/22/2012 - 8:58pm
As the Great John Paul II carried the burden of enormous responsability to the very end, so will Benedict XVI. The Holy Spirit spoke clearly and quickly in 2005. So the "humble laborer" will work on the Lord's fields with  the tools at his disposal. Let's pray for him, for that is all that he has asked from us.
Craig McKee | 3/22/2012 - 2:15pm
Before he goes, I hope he makes one more international trip: to BEIJING, Taipei and TIBET! Now that would be a historical action worthy of the modern papacy. And it would smoke out the growing persecution of religion in China while the insolvent West is distracted by CHECKBOOK DIPLOMACY.
david power | 3/22/2012 - 6:29pm

The guy who wrote it (Socci) is the most servile and supine of Italian journalists.
It is outlandish but could be true.