Aleteia logoAleteia logoAleteia
Thursday 18 July |
Aleteia logo
separateurCreated with Sketch.

On retirement rumors: Pope Francis is a pastor, not a soccer player


Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

Ary Waldir Ramos Diaz - Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 06/21/22

Pope tells Brazil's bishops that he'll continue in his post "as long as God allows it."

The rumor mill is going strong around the world, with talk in both Catholic and secular press that Pope Francis might soon join Benedict XVI as a “pope emeritus,” given the severe pain in his knee and other possible clues, especially a trip to the relics of the last pope to retire without a situation of schism or scandal.

But the Pope himself hasn’t given this indication, and instead, told Brazilian bishops in Rome for their regular visits on June 20 that he plans to keep going “as long as God allows it.”

The pain in his knee does not take away his good mood, the Archbishop of Porto Velho, Roque Paloschi, told Vatican News.

Archbishop Paloschi assured that the Latin American Pontiff is not planning to step down from the Throne of Peter as some media claim.

Instead, the prelate assured, the Pope is busy on several ecclesial fronts, but, “what comes out in the press does not cross his mind.”

Meeting with the 17 bishops of two of Brazil’s ecclesial regions, the Latin American Pope exhorted them to “shepherd without fear of facing the challenges that the present moment presents us” and “to denounce everything that tramples on the fundamental rights of the indigenous populations and the care of our common home.”

The good mood referenced by the archbishop was shown as the Pope received a colorful headdress from the faithful of Bishop Edson Taschetto Damian of the diocese of São Gabriel da Cachoeira in the northwest of Brazil and in the middle of the Amazon rainforest.

Is it a miter?, the Pope asked. “Imagine if I showed up to St. Peter’s in this,” he said, as the prelates chuckled.

Fake news

For his part, the Colombian ambassador to the Holy See, Jorge Mario Eastman, also published a message on social networks in which he denies the false news about the Pope’s resignation.

His message refers to “fake news” promoted in the United States, possibly a reference to a post the day before from Megyn Kelly who reported that it was, according to her guide on family vacation, “highly unusual” that there are a lot of cardinals in the Vatican.

The Colombian ambassador tweeted that while the Holy Father has discomfort from the pain in his knee, “he’s not a football star, but a pastor.”

“Fake news is moving on social networks, promoted by reactionary people from 🇺🇸 who suggest that Pope Francis is thinking of resigning. All of that is just a load of baloney. He’s just fine, his mind is intact and his humor 💯. He suffers from uncomfortable knee pain, but he’s not a football star, but a Pastor.”

In any case, if there is a higher than usual number of cardinals in the Vatican, it could be due to the World Meeting of Families starting tomorrow, with a kick-off address from the Pope.

The head, not the legs

In May, addressing the Italian bishops during their plenary assembly, the Pope reportedly told them that “to govern, it is said that one must have the head, not the legs.” This observation was taken up by Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life.

A close friend of the Pope, the Cardinal said in an interview with the Argentine daily La Nación that he did not feel an “atmosphere of end of the pontificate.”

Cardinal Farrell is the camerlengo, and thus would administer the Holy See in the event of a vacant see.

“I believe that all [these rumors] are very exaggerated; there are no concrete facts,” Farrell said, reiterating in a meeting with Italian bishops on May 23 that the Pope is lucid and in good health: “To govern the Church you need the head, not the legs,” he said, taking up the Pope’s observation, responding to the first photos and videos of the Pope in his wheelchair.

Hubbub at the Vatican

After inaugurating the 10th World Meeting of Families in Rome on Wednesday, Pope Francis will also preside at the closing Mass on Saturday evening. This event is expected to be the biggest gathering at the Vatican this year.

Pope Francis
Support Aleteia!

Enjoying your time on Aleteia?

Articles like these are sponsored free for every Catholic through the support of generous readers just like you.

Thanks to their partnership in our mission, we reach more than 20 million unique users per month!

Help us continue to bring the Gospel to people everywhere through uplifting and transformative Catholic news, stories, spirituality, and more.

Support Aleteia with a gift today!

Top 10
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.