Francis Retires From Game Of Papacy After Twenty Illustrious Liturgical Seasons
Pope Francis, the man who helped the Church win hundreds of thousands of converts over a 20-liturgical-year career, announced Sunday that he will retire after this liturgical season, writing “this Easter is all I have left to give.”
Francis addressed the media after this week’s loss to Islam, a humiliating defeat for the Christians after Muslims handily defeated Catholics in number of children born, saying that he made his decision “a while ago.”
“I’ve known for a while,” Francis said. “A decision like this, you can’t make that decision based on outside circumstances, so finally I’ve decided to accept that I can’t actually do this anymore, and I’m OK with that. It takes a weight off my shoulders and everybody else’s, especially those trying to defend nearly everything I say or write.”
Vatican Preacher to the Papal Household Raniero Cantalamessa, speaking before Wednesday’s General Audience, emphasized that the star pope’s “purpose is to finish out this liturgical season and pray.”
“I think he still loves the Church,” Cantalamessa told reporters. “He still has a passion for it. He’s still a spiritually competitive man.”
Cantalamessa said he was “shocked” when Francis informed him last Saturday night that he was going to announce his retirement the following day.
“He kind of shocked me when he told me,” Cantalamessa said. “I’m just sad more than anything. Somebody who I truly care about, have a lot of respect for. I think it’s always hard when greatness like Francis decides to hang it up.”
Francis’ decision is not totally unexpected, given that he has said many times in recent weeks that he has considered making this liturgical season his last. After one encyclical, a post-synodal document, and numerous impromptu plane interviews, Francis’ career is officially winding down.
“With his relentless work ethic, Pope Francis is one of the greatest popes in the history of our Church,” Vatican commissioner Arnold Silver said in a statement. “Whether honing his homily skills or practicing his thurible swings after midnight in an empty Vatican gym, Francis has an unconditional love for the Church, and we will never forget him.”
At press time, Vatican officials have announced plans to retire the name “Francis” in a ceremony next month.