It does not seem so, but it has been almost ten years since the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the selection of Jorge Bergoglio as Pope Francis, accompanied by the whole world.
Despite the nine years that have passed since then, the Vatican has been alert to the possibility of Francis’ resignation from the post. In 2013, Joseph Ratzinger’s decision was unexpected and caused some shock in the Catholic Church.
Last weekend, the Pope announced that he would make a short pastoral visit to the Italian city of L’Aquila on August 28 to take part in the Celebration of Perdonanza Celestiniana, an annual religious celebration that takes place every summer in the city.
The news intensified speculation in Catholic circles that the current leader of the Catholic Church could follow in the footsteps of his predecessor, Benedict XVI, and resign from office in the near future.
The celebration in which Francis will participate will commemorate Pope Celestine V, who, before Benedict XVI, was the last Pope to resign.
Newspapers covering the Vatican have speculated that Francis, 85, was planning to follow in the footsteps of these other popes, largely due to his increasing mobility problems, such as a knee problem, which forced him to use a wheelchair from Mayo.
Another warning sign was the announcement of an ecclesiastical council, scheduled for August 27, to create 21 new cardinals. Sixteen of them are under the age of eighty and eligible to vote in a secret meeting.
In addition, Francis also announced that he would hold two days of talks the following week to inform the cardinals of the reforms in the Vatican. The document, which takes effect on Sunday, allows women to preside over offices of the Holy See, and places term limits on priestly officials and positions in the institution in the service of local churches, not the other way around.
When he was chosen in 2013, Francis assumed the papacy with the daunting task of radically reforming the Roman Curia. The Holy Father has, thus far, succeeded in carrying out important achievements, which can be considered a reason why Jorge Bergoglio feels that his duty at the head of the Catholic Church has been fulfilled, at least in part.
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