Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

12/19/2011 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Pope showing signs of aging, continues to keep a hectic schedule.

Those closest to Pope Benedict XVI have observed that he is showing the signs of aging. The Holy Father is 84 years old, and will turn 85 on April 16. The demands and the rigors of the job with an Emperor's responsibility, would be a herculean task for even a young man. But motivated by Spirit and responsibility, Benedict continues to keep a busy schedule.

Pope Benedict on his new moving platform which allows him to conserve his strength during services.

Pope Benedict on his new moving platform which allows him to conserve his strength during services.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/19/2011 (2 years ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: Benedict XVI, Pope, aging, moving platform


VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - Nobody is surprised to see Benedict slow down. Perhaps one of the most recent and evident signs of his age was the installation of a moving platform in St. Peter's that transports the Pope to and from the main altar. It is natural then, for his followers to inquire about his condition.

By all indications, the 84-year-old Holy Father is in excellent health. He has not recently taken any sick days, and although he has pared down some of his activities, he continues to keep a schedule that would make a veteran jet setting executive sweat. This appears to many as a minor miracle in itself.

In November, Benedict visited West Africa on a three-day trip during which he braved 90+ degree temperatures and high humidity to meet with dignitaries and address the faithful. By all accounts, he was lively and in top form. But those closest to him, explain that the Holy Father was exhausted by the visit. 

Observers have reported that the Holy Father does not elaborate off-the-cuff as much as he used to, and that on some days he appears just plain tired.

Rabbi David Rosen, head of interfaith relations at the American Jewish Committee stated recently "Indeed I was struck by what appeared to me as the decline in Benedict's strength and health over the last half year. He looks thinner and weaker... which made the effort he put into the Assisi shindig with the extraordinary degree of personal attention to the attendees (especially the next day in Rome) all the more remarkable."

In the book "Light of the World," released November 2010, Benedict made a statement which piqued the interest of followers. In the book he said, " If a pope clearly realizes that he is no longer physically, psychologically and spiritually capable of handling the duties of his office, then he has a right, and under some circumstances, also an obligation to resign."

Observers speculate that Benedict may have taken this view as he worked closely with Pope John Paul II, and witnessed  John Paul's declining health at the end of his papacy. 

However, the notion of a pope resigning is anathema to many Catholics. The last time a pope resigned was in 1415, and the resignation helped to end the Great Western Schism, a period in which popes and anti-popes ruled opposing halves of Europe.

If Benedict were to step down, even willingly and consciously, it could raise the possibility of instability and division within the normally unified church. It could also set a precedent that future popes might be more likely to follow, resigning at the first hint of trouble. 

Benedict made clear that one should not resign in the face of adversity. In the same book he said, "One can resign at a peaceful moment or when one simply cannot go on. But one must not run away from danger and say that someone else should do it."

In light of these views, it is unlikely that the Holy Father will step down anytime soon. But it is understood that he is aging normally and fatiguing more easily. The good news is, he appears possessed of the supernatural ability to keep moving and guiding the flock. 

Benedict has scheduled visits to Cuba and Mexico for early 2012, and is already planning to visit Rio de Janeiro in 2013 for the next World Youth Day.


---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for November 2014
Lonely people:
That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.
Mentors of seminarians and religious: That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.



Comments


More Europe

SCARY VIDEO! What the heck blew up in Russia's sky? Was it a meteor or something stranger?! Watch

Image of A still taken from footage of the phenomena that took place in Russia on November 14.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

What was the mysterious phenomena that occurred in Russia and was witnessed and captured on camera by dozens of motorists? It appears that nobody knows for sure, and even experts are left scratching their heads while they struggle to find reasonable explanations. ... continue reading


Who really was Jack the Ripper? New evidence points to one man Watch

Image of A criminologist from England may have new evidence that points towards the real identity of Jack the Ripper.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new theory about the identity of infamous 19th century London serial killer Jack the Ripper may explain why the murderer was able to elude contemporary and modern authorities for so long and escape justice. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Dr. Gareth Norris, a ... continue reading


Which countries drink the most beer? Our list may surprise you! Watch

Image of Beer is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Who still drinks beer?  Beer is one of the most widely consumed beverages, behind water and tea.  Beer is also a Catholic tradition, alongside wine-making, and has been widely practiced in monasteries, especially in Europe. Now, a list has emerged detailing ... continue reading


To raise money for the poor, Pope Francis to raffle gifts Watch

Image of The tickets are only a modest Ä10, but this includes a new Fiat Panda 4x4, with all optional extras.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Talking the talk, walking the walk: Pope Francis has done it again. The pontiff is raffling gifts that have been given to him in order to raise money for the poor. Posters announcing the raffle have gone up all over Vatican City. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Russia could destabilize Eastern Europe if Ukraine left unchecked, Merkel warns Watch

Image of It's exceedingly tough talk from German Chancellor Angela Merkel. She says that Russia's annexation of Crimea and subsequent destabilization of eastern Ukraine

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's exceedingly tough talk from German Chancellor Angela Merkel. She says that Russia's annexation of Crimea and subsequent destabilization of eastern Ukraine "called the whole of the European peaceful order into question." Adding to the gloomy outlook was a ... continue reading


The Pope Who Builds Showers for the Poor under St Peters Rattles our Comfort Zones Watch

Image of Pope Francis embracing Jesus in the face of the poor

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Those who love the poor - like Jesus loved the poor- are an instruction manual for the rest of us. They are a sign of the kingdom, making it present in their wake. We have such a man in this Pope named Francis. He recognizes that poverty is more than a lack of ... continue reading


Theory: Putin doesn't want war -- he's selling Russian hardware Watch

Image of Putin is playing a dangerous game on brinkmanship with the world -- or he is trying to sell hardware. Nobody is sure.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Vladimir Putin continues to rattle his saber at the western world with bomber flights, naval deployments and the movement of troops within Russia. Some fear the world may be on the brink of a new cold war with the old superpower. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - As ... continue reading


More Catholic Than the Pope? Francis Calls Catholics to Work and Pray with Evangelical Protestants Watch

Image of Pope Francis realistically acknowledges the differences and distinctives in doctrine and practice - as well as the divisions among us. However, he focuses on our common Baptism and shared mission in this decisive moment in Christian history. His message is powerful, prophetic and should be read by every Christian, as well as every other person of faith and good will.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Pope Francis carries the burden for Christian unity in his heart, proclaims it in his words, and steps it into his actions. The hoped for healing of our divisions and call to collaboration proceeded from the Second Vatican Council in the Catholic Church and was ... continue reading


Catholic Cardinal fires back at illegal gay marriages in Italy Watch

Image of While gay marriage is illegal in Italy, many city mayors have begun recognizing same-sex marriages performed outside Italy, which has led to great criticism.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Catholic Cardinal is warning that gay marriage may lead to the destruction of family structure if it becomes culturally accepted by the Catholic Church. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, the head of the Italian Bishops Conference gave ... continue reading


Sex-selective abortions now running rampant across Eastern Europe Watch

Image of Female feticide is happening in countries which previously had no history of such practices, such as Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia.

By Nita Bhalla, Thomson Reuters Foundation

The practice of aborting female fetuses due to a preference for sons is an  "epidemic" which is spreading beyond countries such as India and China to Eastern European nations, a senior United Nations official warned Monday. NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters ... continue reading


All Europe News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 10:8-11
8 Then I heard the voice I had heard from heaven ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 119:14, 24, 72, 103, 111, 131
14 In the way of your instructions lies my joy, a joy ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 19:45-48
45 Then he went into the Temple and began driving out ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 21st, 2014 Image

St. Gelasius
November 21: St. Gelasius I, Pope (Feast day - November 21) Gelasius was born ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter