Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

12/19/2011 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (

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.


By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (

12/19/2011 (3 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'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Europe

Dormitory for Rome's homeless men, 'Gift of Mercy,' established by Pope Francis Watch

Image of Residents in the new

By Catholic News Agency

Pope Francis and his brother Jesuits in Rome have converted an old travel agency building into a new homeless shelter for men, just in time for the cold winter months. Vatican City (CNA) - The new dormitory is called "Gift of Mercy," because mercy is "love's ... continue reading

'Exorcism' and witchcraft child abuse on the rise in Britain Watch

Image of


The number of child abuse cases involving "exorcisms" and witchcraft are on the rise, according to a recent report from the Metropolitan Police in the UK. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - BBC reported about half of police forces do not record cases of ... continue reading

Malaysian Airlines MH17 determined hit by Russian 'warhead' killing all 298 passengers Watch

Image of Debris from MH17's unforgettable crash last year.


Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 disappeared from radar on July 17, 2014 after travelling over the conflict-hit region in Ukraine, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. The Malaysian passenger jet crashed close to the border with Russia, killing all 298 passengers. ... continue reading

Pope Francis warns against conspiracy theories at the synod Watch

Image of Pope Francis warns bishops about the conspiracy theories revolving around the upcoming synod.


At a global Church meeting, Pope Francis warned bishops against conspiracy theories that have been circulating to an attempt to manipulate the synod. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) -Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi confirmed the authenticity of reports claiming ... continue reading

Goodwill not welcomed everywhere as German TV show depicts 'Muslim Merkel' image Watch

Image of The producers of the show defended the image.


German Chancellor Angela Merkel's welcoming of Middle Eastern refugees is not being wholly embraced in her homeland. Complaints have risen about the sudden influx of Muslim immigrants in this largely catholic nation. ARD television broadcasted a mocked-up ... continue reading

CHURCH SHOCKER: Gay and pedophile priests sent to monastery for 'sex cures' Watch

Image of In the wake of recent sex scandals, it has been discovered that the Vatican sends priests

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In the wake of recent sex scandals, it has been discovered that the Vatican sends priests "with inappropriate sexual tendencies" to a special monastery in the Alps for a purported cure. It has been learned that homosexual, pedophile and drug addicted clergy ... continue reading

Anti-Semitic violence runs rampant through Europe Watch

Image of


A top European Union official has warned of increasing anti-Semitism in Europe, as there are mounting threats and attacks against Jews in Europe's member countries.  BRUSSELS, EUROPE (Catholic Online) - The Vice President of the European Commission, Frans ... continue reading

Is ancient Greek tomb for Alexander the Great's friend Hephaestion? Debate continues Watch

Image of After his death in 325 B.C., Alexander the Great reportedly ordered that shrines be constructed throughout the empire. Hephaestion died less than a year before the Macedonian leader.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Archaeologist Katerina Peristeri declared that the mysterious Amphipolis monument is a tomb to Hephaestion, Alexander the Great's best friend who died less than a year before Alexander did.Fragmentary inscriptions link the monument to Hephaestion. Other archaeologists ... continue reading

10,000 copies of Germany's constitution was printed in Arabic to help nearly 800,000 migrants integrate Watch

Image of


Germany translated the first 20 articles of its constitution, which concerns basic rights such as freedom of speech, into Arabic for refugees to learn in an attempt to help immigrants integrate. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - At the moment, Germany struggles to ... continue reading

Segregation of Jewish and Muslim pupils in a French school echoes chilling Nazi segregation Watch

Image of


Jewish and Muslim students at the Piedallous primary school in Auxere, Burgundy were ordered to wear disks around their necks. The incident brought with it memories of Nazi segregation and caused an uproar. LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (Catholic Online) - Daily Mail ... continue reading

All Europe News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Romans 1:16-25
16 For I see no reason to be ashamed of the gospel; ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 19:2-3, 4-5
2 day discourses of it to day, night to night hands ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 11:37-41
37 He had just finished speaking when a Pharisee ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 13th, 2015 Image

St. Edward the Confessor
October 13: Edward the Confessor was the son of King Ethelred III and his ... Read More