John Paul II in 2002: “A pope emeritus is impossible”

John Paul II in 2002: “A pope emeritus is impossible”

Google translation of Giovanni Paolo II nel 2002: “A pope emeritus is impossible”

Sandro Magister
Settimo Cielo (Seventh Heaven)

The Enigma of an “emeritus pope” attached to the reigning pope, even in the form of “a ministry in common” between a “contemplative” pope and an “active”, continues to weigh unresolved on the current season of the papacy:

> Not a pope but two, one “active” and a “contemplative”

The figure of “emeritus pope” was deliberately introduced by Benedict XVI after his resignation, but has no precedent in history.

It is known that had already been examined by some of his predecessors, however, that more and rejected it as impractical. Pius XII, for example, thinking of a possible kidnapping by the Nazis who occupied Rome, had prepared a letter of total renunciation of the papacy, and had confided to Monsignor Domenico Tardini: “If you kidnap me, take away Cardinal Pacelli, not dad”.

The issue came to appear in the last phase, more and more marked by the disease, the Pontificate of John Paul II.

The writer and Catholic publisher Conrad Black, Canadian, confirms that Pope Karol Wojtyla had the opportunity to talk about the end of July 2002, in Toronto for the World Youth Day (see photo), during a lunch with the benefactors who had financed the day, in the house of the archbishop emeritus of the city, Cardinal Gerald Emmett Carter, of which Black was a close friend.

On that occasion, John Paul II said, quite contrary to the hypothesis. And his exact words were: “A pope emeritus is impossible.”

Black called at the time this episode in a tribute to the memory of the holy Pope, of which he was co-published in the British weekly “Catholic Herald”.

Joseph Ratzinger was the teacher of doctrine in which John Paul II placed the greatest confidence. And it was then in 2005 his successor.

But apparently the “emeritus pope” the one and the other have taken apart roads.

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4 comments on “John Paul II in 2002: “A pope emeritus is impossible”

  1. I’ll file this with the one about John XXIII, while he lay dying, saying, “Stop the Council.”

    • Or with the tale of Pope Paul VI’s liturgical quandary on the Monday after Pentecost Sunday after his Novus Ordo liturgy went into effect – claimed by Fr. Z as the source:

      A Pentecost Monday lesson: “And Paul VI wept.”

      Posted on 9 June 2014 by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

      Years ago I told this Pentecost Monday tale and it has made the rounds. It has made the rounds everywhere, but I am the origin of the anecdote, which I published years ago in the pages of The Wanderer and also on the now defunct Catholic Online Forum in its Compuserve days. (Remember Compuserve? I’ve been at this since 1992.) Lots of people have picked it up.

      It bears repetition.

      This stands as a lesson for what happens when we lose sight of continuity.

      Take this for what it may be worth.

      Some years ago … gosh, it was decades now… I was told this story by a retired Papal Ceremoniere (Master of Ceremonies) who, according to him, was present at the event about to be recounted.

      You probably know that in the traditional Roman liturgical calendar the mighty feast of Pentecost had its own Octave. Pentecost was/is a grand affair indeed, liturgically speaking. It has a proper Communicantes and Hanc igitur, an Octave, a Sequence, etc. In some places in the world such as Germany and Austria Pentecost Monday, Whit Monday as the English call it, was a reason to have a civil holiday, as well as a religious observance.

      The Novus Ordo went into force with Advent in 1969.

      The Monday after Pentecost in 1970, His Holiness Pope Paul VI went to the chapel for Holy Mass. Instead of the red vestments, for the Octave everyone knows follows Pentecost, there were laid out for him vestments of green.

      Paul queried the MC assigned for that day, “What on earth are these for? This is the Octave of Pentecost! Where are the red vestments?”

      “Santità,” quoth the MC, “this is now Tempus ‘per annum’. It is green, now. The Octave of Pentecost was abolished.”

      “Green? That cannot be!”, said the Pope, “Who did that?”

      “Holiness, you did.”

      And Paul VI wept.

    • I remember this incident, It was in the media at the time.
      The pope was asked if he would step down due to poor health and he said he would not because there is no such thing as a “Pope Emeritus”. I am not sure at what point during his long illness this occurred but it was treated as light humor…but a serious answer at the same time. I am 71 and this incident was the first thing that came to mind when Pope Benedict began to be know as the ‘Pope Emeritus’.

  2. I’ve never really quantified it, but – unless confirmed by an unimpeachable original, signed source document – just about anything I’ve read that claims just about anything about just about “celebrity hierarch” ain’t worth the time it takes to read it.

    BOTH sides, Left and Right, are guilty of such fictions.

    And Catholics observant of Sacred Tradition only end up looking like just one more among many species of head cases if they get carried away with “alleged” claptrap.

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