Is Pope Francis Thinking Of Retiring Like Benedict?

Retiring type? ... Pope Francis, pictured with Pope Benedict, says no positions in the Ca

Retiring type? … Pope Francis, pictured with Pope Benedict, says no positions in the Catholic Church should be for life. Picture: AP

POPE Francis has hinted that he may step down in a similar way to his predecessor, Benedict, saying that having “leaders for life” was akin to a dictatorship.

The head of the Catholic Church, now 78, has said before that he would consider stepping down if he felt that he was unable to carry out his duties.

Now he has told 30,000 people at the Vatican that it may be time to consider the idea that popes need to step down after a period of service.

Sharing ideas? ... Pope Francis (R) speaks with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI at the Vatican

Sharing ideas? … Pope Francis (R) speaks with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI at the Vatican on June 30. Picture: AFP

“Let’s be clear. The only one who cannot be substituted in the Church is the Holy Spirit,” he said. “There should be a time limit to positions [in the Church], which in reality are positions of service.

“It is convenient that all [positions] in the Church should have a time limit,” he said. “There are no leaders for life in the Church. This occurs in some countries where a dictatorship exists.”

Pope Benedict XVI resigned in February 2013, becoming the first pontiff to do so in 600 years.

In March, Francis said what his predecessor did “should not be considered an exception, but an institution”

Originally published as Is Pope Francis thinking of retiring?

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