Francis’ Prophecy

Pope Francis’ revelation that he has “the feeling” that his papacy will be a short one has caused deep concern among many people worldwide, especially among the overwhelming majority of Catholics who worry what might happen to the radical reform and renewal of the church that he has started.

The concern first emerged in August 2014 after the pope’s press conference on the flight back from Korea, when he said he thinks his pontificate “isn’t going to last long.”


It surfaced on a more global scale on the second anniversary of his election, when he told Mexico’s Televisa network that he felt his pontificate would last four or five years, or less.

His repeated affirmation that his papacy will be short has raised many questions. The three main ones are: Has he some serious illness? Is he engaged in a political calculus to push through the reform he wants in the church? Does he plan to resign at 80, as some whisper in Rome?

To answer such questions, it’s necessary to understand the context in which Francis spoke and what he actually said.

Let’s begin with the airborne press conference on Aug. 18, 2014. A reporter for Radio France, Anaïs Fuga, recalling the ovations the pope received in Rio, asked, “How do you handle this immense popularity?  How do you deal with it?” After confessing he didn’t know what to say, Francis went on to thank God that “His people are happy” and said he felt “the people’s generosity.” But, he added, “interiorly...I try to think about my sins and my mistakes, lest I have any illusions, since I realize that this is not going to last long...two or three years, and to the house of the Father.”

When Elisabetta Piqué (my wife)interviewed him for La Nación last December, she told him that after his airborne revelation “many people were worried about your health; they thought you might not be well.” She asked: “How are you?” He responded: “I do have some aches and pains, and at my age ailments don’t go unnoticed. But I am in God’s hands. Up to now I have been able to maintain a rhythm of work that is more or less good.”

Then in March, Televisa’s Valentina Alazraki returned to his “short papacy” remark and asked, “Why do we have the sensation that you look like someone in a hurry by your way of acting?” and “Why does it seem that you envisage a short pontificate? Why do you repeatedly say these things?”

His answer: “I have the feeling that my pontificate will be brief: four or five years; I don’t know, even two or three. Two have already passed! It’s a somewhat vague sensation. Maybe it’s like the psychology of a gambler who convinces himself he’ll lose so he won’t be disappointed, and if he wins he’s happy. But I feel that the Lord has placed me here for a short time... It’s a feeling. For this reason, I always leave the possibility open.“

On all three occasions, his answers were spontaneous, not part of a political calculus. He’s like that. He speaks from the heart. He confirmed that his health is reasonably good given his age, but said he has this inner feeling about a brief pontificate.

He told Televisa that he’s not in favor of setting a statutory age (80) for popes to resign because “the papacy is something of a final instance. It’s a special grace.” Setting a retirement age “creates the sensation of the end of a pontificate. That wouldn’t do good, it would be predictable.” He said he shares “Benedict’s idea,” but avoided committing himself to follow suit. “Benedict has opened the door to emeritus popes. One cannot consider Benedict as an exception, but as an institution.... Maybe he will be the only one for some time, or maybe he will not be the only one.”

In actual fact, Francis is a realist. He read the history of the popes in 1991, before becoming a bishop. He knows that 48 of his 265 predecessors were popes for less than one year, 73 others for less than five years and 64 more for less than 10 years.

In this context it is worth recalling that when Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected pope at the age of 78 in the 2005 conclave, he said he took the name Benedict because the last pope with that same name had “a short pontificate.” And yet he was pope for almost eight years until he resigned just before his 86th birthday.

Francis was elected pope at 76. He is now 78; and, as he stated in a recent interview with young people from a Buenos Aires shanty town, “My life is in the hands of God.”

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3 years 9 months ago
He's a practical man. As with all of us over 60, he knows the time ahead of him is shorter than the time behind him. He wants to get his work done, as we all do before we have to go home. Leaving the house in order for the kids is one of the most important things a parent can do. He's a practical papa.
Ray Tapajna
3 years 7 months ago
Pope Francis has come at a critical time in history. The forces of globalists and free trade economics is out to change the world radically. A new "ism" is making all the other "isms" one for the sake of money and power. Governments act as brokers and dealers who have a plantation owner mentality. President Obama used the term New World Order more than once at international money conferences. As an advocate for workers' dignity, local economies and real free enterprise based on the common good, we have been online since 1998 about this evil. Free trade economics came as a thief in the night betraying the workers and businesses. Millions lost their jobs and businesses in the most massive dislocation of jobs in history. In our advocacy, we also explore the latent response of religion and philosophy to the global economic arena. It is sad, because only a few have pursued this issue. On top of this, free trade economics has failed with Pres Obama having to bail out the process in 2008 but he only bailed out the big money and the financial communities while ignoring the suffering of millions who lost everything do to free trade. We call free trade economics evil. It is a structural sin. Here is an article from our asking Is Free Trade Economics A Structural Sin? It ties into the Pope Francis lifting the ban on the beatification of Bishop Oscar Romero who was shot to death in El Salvador in 1980. For me it opened the door to the reality of structural sin. By Ray Tapajna In my advocacy for workers dignity, common good local economies and real free enterprise, I have given free trade economics different descriptions to point to the reality of it. I have called free trade a nightmare and other things like it being an economic disease and economic cancer. In my advocacy, I explore the latent response of religion and philosophy to the global economic arena. Lately, I have called free trade a sin. I thought I was perhaps pushing things to far. However, after reading about Bishop Oscar Romero who was murdered while saying mass in 1980 by a military officer who graduated from the School of Americas where the U.S. trains South Americans to support "security" in Central American and other South American countries. Pope Francis took a ban off Romero's beatification and now he is destined to become a saint in the Catholic Church. After reading more about the debates around the ban , I now call free trade economics structural sin. And here's why in my response to a friend who reviewed a book about the dark side of our world today. -- Good to hear from you. I am currently studying "structural sin" with Bishop Oscar Romero being beatified. Pope John Paul wrote about it and Pope Francis removed the ban of Romero's beatification due to debates about his being a part of Liberation Theology. In 1980 Romero was shot through the heart while saying mass by a military officer who was a graduate of the School of Americans. The reality of Salvadoran society forced his conversion into an outspoken, confrontational leader who directly attacked those who perpetuated what he called “structural sin:” “When the church hears the cry of the oppressed,” Romero wrote before his murder, “it cannot but denounce the social structures that give rise to and perpetuate the misery from which the cry arises.” If Romero was alive today, he would recognize trade coming TPP trade deal along with the broader, disastrous policies Washington is pursuing in the Mexico-Central America-Colombia security corridor, as prime examples of “structural sin.” The day before he was killed,Romero said, (How easy it is to denounce structural injustice, institutionalized violence, social sin! And it is true, this sin is everywhere, but where are the roots of this social sin? In the heart of every human being. Present-day society is a sort of anonymous world in which no one is willing to admit guilt, and everyone is responsible. We are all sinners, and we have all contributed to this massive crime and violence in our country. Salvation begins with the human person, with human dignity, with saving every person from sin.) In the debate about he being a martyr, some say he was killed for political reasons and not spiritual. This points to the very essence of the duality and division between the day of worship and the rest of the week. Political life can not be divorced from our spiritual life. The darkness surrounding us as you review seep into our souls. And this is why I now call free trade economics structural sin. Someone has to stop the sin of living off the suffering and our economies based on discounting the value and dignity of workers in our country and around the world must stop. View The Cross of 911 Tangle of Terror asking who can untangle the terror that globalization and free trade have bred. ( http://ray-tapajna-rational-economics http://therational-journal ) Please forward this to all who agree we must stop the curse of free trade economics.


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