VATICAN CITY (CNS): The Vatican’s No 2 official said the question of eventual papal resignation was something that must be left to “the Pope’s conscience”.
Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, responded on February 7 to reporters who asked whether the Pope had considered resigning in view of his latest health problems.
“Let’s leave this to the Pope’s conscience. If there is a man in the Church who is guided by the Holy Spirit, if there is a man who loves the Church, if there is a man with marvellous wisdom, it’s the Pope,” the cardinal told reporters.
Cardinal Sodano’s remarks were somewhat unusual, since most Vatican officials refuse to even discuss the possibility of papal resignation.
Cardinal Sodano did not say resignation was an active hypothesis for the Pope, who was being treated for respiratory problems in a Rome hospital.
In fact, only a few minutes earlier, the cardinal had expressed the hope that Pope John Paul’s pontificate would run longer than that of Pope Pius IX, who ruled for more than 31 years.
The Pope made a brief appearance at his hospital window on February 6 to bless the faithful, but his voice was hoarse and barely audible. The Vatican said he was improving but was being kept in the hospital as a precaution.