Term limit for the Pope


Agreed that a Pope becomes so due to the interference of God also.But God normally interfere through men.In this case he interferes through the Cardinals who select the Pope.There is nothing wrong if the Cardinals decide prior to the election that the term of the Pope or the age limit be fixed.It will have the support of the Holy spirit. Or better still the relevant law can be amended at any time as per the procedure.There is nothing that once elected ,Pope should remain as Pope till death.
I feel that instead of a fixed term ,fixing an age limit of 80 years would be reasonable and sensible.May Holy spirit help in this…


The Catholic Church´s has a different view of the concept of time than almost every other organisation on earth. Eternity is very hard for people to get a grip on before we are dead. After death we don’t need a clock anymore. :smiley:

If there is a man who wants to be pope, and if I had the possibility to vote, then that man is not the one I would vote for. We will have the pope that the Church needs. We might not understand it in the moment but sometimes it is decades later.


AFAIK such a rule wouldn’t be possible, although it could become a sort of precedent among Popes.


Interesting question @YourNameHere , but - - - - - - -


I wish Pope Benedict had not retired. I like him.


Term limits make sense for any elected position. Since the Pope is elected by cardinals and not appointed directly by God then it makes sense to limit their terms.


Why would that be of benefit? Should the Church be influenced by and reflect the society(ies) of the world, or vice versa?


We get who we need, when we need him, and for precisely as long as we need him. My limited scope of opinion on the global church is so infinitesimally small, any input I could offer would be superfluous.


Oh, you sweet summer child…


The best answer in this thread.

God determines the Pope’s time limit. Couldn’t have a better one decide that.


I think that democracy can become something bad. Society should leaen from the Church.
I dont belive that the person on the street will ve that educated in politics. Let the people who know stuff deal with it.


But everything cant be perfect as humans are sinners.


The practical issue is that the Pope himself is the supreme legislator (and executive, and judge) of the Church. There is no way to enforce a time or age limit upon the Pope, because he can change it at any time, and no Pope can bind a future Pope to a merely human law.


They are guided by the Holy Spirit.


That will be a hard no. The Pope serves out for life, or until he judges he is incapable of fulfilling his duties (i.e., Benedict XVI).


One rather severe drawback is that we would have a more or less permanent population of two or three popes emeriti, aka ex-popes, former popes, or retired popes. From time to time they might be interviewed on television, or seen addressing a conference somewhere, or filmed on someone’s smartphone when they were buying socks in Macy’s, if there is a Macy’s wherever it may be that ex-popes are sent to spend their declining years. Benedict XVI has cleverly avoided falling into that trap, but then he is the only one of his kind. The last time there had been a living ex-pope was seven hundred years earlier. But when ex-popes become a permanent fixture, like retired Archbishops of Canterbury in the Church of England, the inevitable effect will be to diminish the stature of the papacy.


Even the horrible and awful ones?


We don’t know all the ins and outs of God’s ultimate plans or the role that less than stellar Popes play in it.


Is the law if any about the time limit of the Pope is such that nobody can change it or even if changed another Pope can simply reverse it ? Doubtful.Now if there is no law let it be made atleast now which appears to be good for the church.But them who will take initiative?


There should not be term limits for any bishop, including the bishop of Rome. Canon law even disfavors term limits for parish pastors, but ultimately permits bishops’ conferences to establish renewable ones (the US bishops have done so, for example).

On the other hand, Vatican II “earnestly requested” that bishops less capable of fulfilling their duties due to age (it did not provide a particular age) offer their resignation on their own accord or upon the invitation of the competent authority. (Christus Dominus 21). The reasoning Vatican II gave was that the office of bishop was “so important and weighty.” Given that reasoning, it seems this earnest request would apply even more so to the bishop of Rome.

It makes sense to me that a bishop, including the bishop of Rome, should resign if not capable of fulfilling his duties. Given modern medicine, people often out live their capabilities these days. But there shouldn’t be a hard, arbitrary cut off date.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.