the eyes of the world in the Vatican where the Vatican has confirmed that the health of former Pope Benedict XVI is deteriorating and that doctors are constantly monitoring the condition of the 95-year-old man today Pope Francis said his predecessor’s health is deteriorating and asked people around the world to pray for Pope Benedict to discuss this, let’s bring in ab newspaper contributor and professor of law and religion at George Mason University Helen alvaree Helen thank you for being here Pope Benedict has lived a long life we know that it has been brittle I can see it in the occasional photos that pop up on Instagram and elsewhere.
Do we know anything more about his condition at this hour? to be experiencing just general failure or decline and when Pope Benedict took that really amazing step of retiring from the papacy, the first to do it voluntarily Normally, I think 700-800 years ago, he cited his declining health and cited a lack of mental strength and physical due to his advanced stage which was almost 10 years ago now in 2013 the papacy was a heavy load and he retired to a monastery i took inside the vatican walls what have you been doing since you resigned how active it’s been you know um first i’m going to note that he’s actually had health problems his whole life even as a young man in his 30’s and up he always thought he was going to be too frail for big dates and of course , he went from one important appointment to another,
he was extraordinary, but he definitely thought that his health was not great for maybe 60 years. since he has been there he receives many guests, he is probably the greatest theological mind of the 20th century in the Catholic tradition and I know from those he has written to or met in his place in the Vatican. that he has engaged in very lively conversations with them on theological matters it is theirs it is their language he has written very little you know he really retired from writing during that time so he said he very modestly stepped aside and really kept his promise that he had allowed Francis to step up and be the face of the Holy See and now there was concern that it might not turn out well there have been times in the long history of the Catholic church when there have been more than one living pope disputing the seat and perhaps he could have left a rival group and chose to live in silence as you note and I wonder if you know the
unprecedented nature of this moment what kind of plans or how the church will when the time comes say goodbye to a pope emeritus you know first I think people said goodbye to him on that beautiful flight that you know you broadcast on this network in the helicopter far from San Pedro, uh, I think most people said goodbye to him in their minds at the time, how they say goodbye to him is determined not so much by popes in general or the history of the papacy as by people’s personal reaction to this man, um, I think it’s a man of deep complex Rich varied history Has been caricatured You may remember being called God’s Rottweiler when he was head of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith The main doctrinal office in the Holy See and yet the irony.
From that, of course, he is the man who resisted going into that position until John Paul II insisted that he then tried to resign him on numerous occasions. John Paul II refused. I mean, here’s the man who didn’t want to be the boss of the majority. powerful Doctrine post in the church then becomes Pope again without any campaign in that direction and accepts it with eh responsibly but with fear and reluctance and then steps aside so again the irony of this reputation as the intense executor when his life has been a series of very modest movements to serve the church as he thought it was his uh vocation which is as a theologian so that people say goodbye to him as a theologian and beloved Right Pastor and as Pope Francis has said that his return was a gift to the church itself and maybe that’s a precedent there, Helen Alvaree, we thank you so much and I know we’ll be watching as we continue to cover this story, thank you, yes thank you, hi, everyone, George.
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