Catholic News - Catholic Telecommunications, a devision of Catholic Resources





Vatican No. 2 says resignation a matter for Pope's conscience

After asking prayers for a hospitalised Pope John Paul II, the Vatican's No. 2 official - Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican Secretary of State (pictured) - said the question of eventual papal resignation was something that must be left to "the pope's conscience."

"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 marvelous wisdom, it's the pope," the cardinal told reporters yesterday.

"We have to have enormous trust in him. He knows what he should do," the cardinal added.

Catholic News Service reports that 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.

"In his 26 years of papacy, the pope has left us a luminous teaching legacy. Let us pray that this teaching continues for many years. Pope Pius IX governed the church for 32 years, and let us pray that John Paul II passes that mark," he said.

The cardinal went on to note that Pope Leo XII lived to the age of 93 a century ago. He asked prayers that "the Lord may grant a long life to the Holy Father, and that he grant him serenity."

Cardinal Sodano was inaugurating a remodeled Vatican bookstore, which was named after Pope John Paul.

The cardinal has been visiting the 84-year-old pontiff at Rome's Gemelli Hospital and is the man who coordinates Vatican affairs in the pope's absence.

Vatican's No. 2 says decision to resign would be up to pope (Catholic News Service 7/2/05)

Vatican Secretariat of State
Angelo Cardinal Sodano (

Recovering Pope makes public appearance (CathNews 7/2/05)
Pope thanks faithful for their prayers (CathNews 4/2/05)
Media makes big deal of Pope's 'little fever' (CathNews 3/2/05)
Pope urges improved screening for seminarians (CathNews 2/2/05)
Flu-stricken Pope lies low (CathNews 1/2/05)
Recalcitrant peace dove refuses to leave papal apartment (CathNews 31/1/05)
Pope's Lenten message urges respect for elderly (CathNews 28/1/05)

Weakened pope pronounces blessing; hospital stay prolonged (Catholic News Service 7/2/05)
Only Pope can decide whether to retire (Reuters 7/2/05)
Pope was '10 minutes from death' (Herald-Sun 7/2/05)
Chris McGillion: Dangers abound for church when an ailing pope clings to office (Sydney Morning Herald 8/2/05)
Pope makes a public appearance (ABC Radio AM 7/2/05)
Pope improving but could suffer again: doctor (ABC News/AFP 7/2/05)
Pope's heatlh improving: "jokes" about newspapers ( 7/2/05)
Pope gives Angelus blessing from hospital room (Catholic News Agency 7/2/05)
"We need to trust life!" says Pope in message from hospital (Catholic News Agency 7/2/05)
Holy Father continues to improve, says Vatican (Catholic News Agency 7/2/05)
Vatican denies Pope's message pre-recorded (Catholic News Agency 7/2/05)
Pope tells seminarians to love and imitate Mary in order to be faithful priests (Catholic News Agency 7/2/05)
Cardinal Stafford to preside on Pope's behalf at Ash Wednesday Mass (Catholic News Agency 7/2/05)
Pope's voice 'was no blessing in disguise' (The Courier Mail/AFP 8/2/05)
Recovering Pope to remain hospitalized (Catholic World News 7/2/05)
Brief papal appearance Sunday (Catholic World News 7/2/05)
The Forum: Pope voice dubbed to conceal speaking difficulty? (Catholic World News 7/2/05)
Rome's seminarians are "reason for consolation," Pope says (Catholic World News 7/2/05)
Ecumenical prayer vigil for Pope's health (Catholic World News 7/2/05)
US Democrats seek 'faith agenda' in polarised religious landscape (Ecumenical News International 7/2/05)
Pope's four-word window blessing (The Guardian/Associated Press 7/2/05)
Pope Blesses Crowd From Hospital Window (The Guardian/Associated Press 7/2/05)
Reports: Pope Passes Clinic Night Calmly (The Guardian/Associated Press 7/2/05)
Pope to Stay in Hospital a Few More Days (The Guardian/Associated Press 7/2/05)
Pope's overall condition improving, to remain in hospital "for a few more days" (Missionary Service News Agency 7/2/05)
Pope's Hospital Stay Extended But Condition Better (Reuters 7/2/05)
Vatican denies ailing Pope used taped blessing (Sydney Morning Herald/AFP 8/2/05)
Fresh details to come on Pope illness (The Courier Mail/AFP 7/2/05)
Pope faces longer stay in hospital (The Advertiser/AFP 8/2/05)
Pope's future 'a matter of conscience' (The Advertiser/AFP 8/2/05)
Pope extends his stay in hospital (The Australian/AFP 8/2/05)
Pope will recover, may suffer again (The Courier Mail/AFP 8/2/05)
Pope's Ireland visit still possible (The Universe - temporary url)
Pope's blessing reduces faithful to tears (Irish Independent 7/2/05)
Pope to seminarians: You are a reason for consolation (Vatican Information Service 7/2/05)
Cardinal Stafford to preside at Ash Wednesday celebration (Vatican Information Service 7/2/05)
Pope from hospital: I continue to serve church and humanity (Vatican Information Service 7/2/05)
Pope improves: has no fever, eats regularly, celebrates mass (Vatican Information Service 7/2/05)
Pope Imparts Blessing From Hospital Window (Zenit 6/2/05)
"Have Confidence in Life," Says John Paul II (Zenit 6/2/05)
In Pope's Absence, Curia Keeps Working (Zenit 6/2/05)
Cardinal Marchisano Named to Labor Office (Zenit 6/2/05)
Spanish Bishops Critique Europe's Draft Constitution (Zenit 6/2/05)

8 Feb 2005