Are popes required to serve for life?

By Joseph McHugh| Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare
Article Scripture and Theology Vatican

Catholics have become accustomed to the idea of popes dying in office—after all, 600 years is a long time between papal resignations. But there is no written rule that a pope must serve for life.

Pope Benedict, in his announcement of resignation, said of the papacy that “both strength of mind and body are necessary—strength which in the last few months has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.”