Two-Thirds of Friars Say ‘No’ to Pope’s Retirement Even if Health Is Failing

HNP Communications HNPNow

Although he has made it clear that he is not planning to retire, Pope Francis – during media interviews after returning to Rome from a penitential visit to Canada – said “the door is open” to that possibility if death doesn’t take him first from the papal office. The notion of consecutive popes ending their reign by retirement – his predecessor Benedict XVI was the first pontiff in 600 years to retire before his death – could very well rock the more than 1.3 billion Catholics around the globe. But Pope Francis has raised the specter of deteriorating health as a possibility of limiting his pontifical ministry and forcing him to choose retirement. In the survey of the Aug. 17 edition of HNP NOW, the question was posed to friars: Should Pope Francis retire due to health considerations?

Two-thirds of friars were in the majority of those who said the pontiff should not retire. All of the friars among the one-third who felt he should retire due to health considerations said he should not wait for Pope Emeritus Benedict to pass away.

Several friars provided thoughtful and vigorous comments to go along with their response.

“If he has his mental ability to govern wisely, there should not be an issue,” said Henry Fulmer, OFM.



“Pope Francis is embodying the truth that the assistance of a device does not define nor place a limitation on your value or how much one can contribute to society,” said Jay Woods, OFM. “Thinking that Pope Francis should step down because of his need right now to use an assisting device is insulting and dehumanizing to our sisters and brothers who similarly use such devices, many of whom have used them since birth.”

Added Tyler Grudi, OFM, “I find the survey question unacceptable. I trust that Pope Francis and his advisors know what’s best for him and his health. This is not the thing a friar minor needs to weigh in on. We should support the pope in whatever he decides, and pray for him.”


Dominic Monti, OFM, commented, “I admire the way that Pope Francis is continuing with his ministry. He has not reached the stage of John Paul II in his later years and is certainly mentally alert. Of course, it is up to him, but it seems he would like to continue for the near future anyway,” he added.

“I would love to see more of his reforms take place. I fear who might be elected after him. But then again, if he feels he must resign, I support him, hoping he has appointed enough cardinals to elect someone who will carry on his movement,” said Richard McFeely, OFM.


Emmet Murphy, OFM, wrote, “We should have Francis for many years, hopefully. However, this is not probable. Let’s pray that his successor will carry on Francis’ reforms!!”