Podcast: Pope Francis didn’t resign this week (though some expected him to)
“Inside the Vatican” is back from summer break this week, just as the Vatican wraps up an unusually jam-packed late August. On August 27, Pope Francis created 20 new cardinals, 16 of whom will help choose his successor. On the podcast, host Colleen Dulle and veteran Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell recap the appointments and what makes the solemn ceremony relatively simple by Vatican standards.
Most of the world’s cardinals came to Rome for the creation of the new cardinals, and stayed for meetings with the pope on Monday and Tuesday to discuss his reform of the Roman Curia that went into effect in June. Although no reporters were allowed inside the meeting, Gerry shares what he learned from several participants about what happened.
In between these two important events, Pope Francis flew by helicopter to the central Italian city of L’Aquila, which has not fully recovered from an earthquake that killed nearly 300 people in 2016. The pope met with the families of those who had died, before visiting the tomb of Celestine V, the first pope to voluntarily resign.
The visit to Celestine’s tomb, combined with the unusual meeting with the cardinals, had led some to assume Pope Francis could resign this week. Gerry explains that, while he doesn’t believe Francis intends to follow in Celestine’s footsteps and resign yet, Francis has become the first pope in more than 700 years to follow Celestine’s lead in opening the Holy Door of the L’Aquila basilica for a special feast of forgiveness known as the “Celestinian pardon.”