In St. Peter’s Square, there is a large gathering of mourners attending Pontiff Emeritus Benedict XVI’s funeral.
They are going to pay their last respects to the German theologian who made history by leaving the pope in 2013 and to attend a unique requiem Mass for a deceased pontiff presided over by a live one.
So who is the current pope, how old is he, and could he too abdicate the papacy before passing away as his predecessor did?
Who Is The Pope At This Time?
Pope Francis, who has been in charge at the Vatican since his predecessor’s retirement in 2023, is the current pope.
Before being inspired to join the Society of Jesus after recovering from a medical condition, Jorge Mario Bergoglio worked as a bouncer and cleaner before being born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1936.
He was ordained as a priest in 1969 and eventually rose to the position of Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998 before being named a Cardinal in 2001. 2013 saw his election as Pope Benedict’s replacement, and he adopted the name Francis, in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi.
He is the first-ever Pontiff to originate from the Americas and the southern hemisphere.
Pope Francis: Will He Retire?
Usually, popes don’t leave their positions; they continue to serve until their final demise. But may Pope Francis resign from his office as head of the Catholic Church too?
Remember that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who passed away in 2013, was the first pontiff to step down in 600 years to illustrate how uncommon it is for a pope to resign.
There is currently no solid evidence to suggest that he might do so. Yet in December 2022, when it became known that Francis had submitted a letter of resignation shortly after being elected pope in 2013, rumors abounded as a precaution in the event he would one day be unable to perform his duties due to illness.
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Francis acknowledged that he has “already signed” his renunciation when asked about what would happen if a pope became incapable due to illness or an accident in an interview with the Spanish newspaper ABC. “I signed it and stated: “Here is my resignation if I should become incapacitated due to a medical condition or for any other cause. You have it right here,” he said.
In the past, Pope Francis has addressed resignation as well, saying that he sensed his tenure at the Vatican would be relatively short.
How Is Pope Francis’ Health?
Many of the pontiff’s devoted followers began to wonder about the pope’s physical health after learning that he has already made arrangements for retirement should he become physically incapable.
As of this writing, there is no proof that such a standing down due to ill health is anticipated anytime soon.
But, Pope Francis had intestinal surgery in 2021, and he had previously experienced excruciating knee problems that had to be treated with a wheelchair for extended periods of time.
Francis underwent intestinal surgery in July 2021 and required 11 days of hospitalization. He had been suffering from severe diverticular stenosis symptoms, which are caused by the colon becoming narrower. However, he claimed that because of a nurse at the Vatican who convinced him to have surgery to remove a portion of his colon rather than continue taking antibiotics and other medications, he could now “lead a totally normal life.”
He promptly denied rumors that he was considering retirement at the moment, claiming that the idea “didn’t even cross my mind.”
How Old Is Pope Francis?
Pope Francis is 86 years old right now. On December 17, 2022, he celebrated his most recent birthday. He, therefore, surpasses Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who retired in part because of his “advanced age,” by one year.
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