Why are Popes always Older men?


#1

Some one Asked me why are Popes always older men if they’re Pope until they Die?
What is the answer?:confused::shrug:


#2

They were not always old. There were at least four persons who became pope when they were in their twenties, in fact. Pope Benedict IX (reigned 1032-1044; the pope who infamously sold his papacy) supposedly became pope when he was twenty or even when he was 11 or 12 (the sources differ). John XII (reigned 985-964) was probably eighteen when he became pope.

(The thing is, especially in the case of earlier popes, we don’t even know when they were born - we only know the (probable) years of their pontificate. In other words, we don’t know how old they are when they took on the papacy.)


#3

There is also an understanding that papacies can go on too long, get ossified, run out of energy. Electing a 40-something man as pope could mean a 45-year papacy, which I don’t think would be healthy for the Church.


#4

With age comes wisdom (hopefully).


#5

I think there was a pope who was still a child.


#6

For the same reason that US presidents are normally older men.

It takes decades for someone to build up a world reputation for Church leadership to where they would be s candidate for the Papacy, just as it has historically taken decades to develop a political name within the US electoral system.

ICXC NIKA.


#7

It’s true that wisdom (usually) comes with age. It is of more benefit to elect wise Bishops as Popes. It would be different if the Pope had to command an army like other leaders. It’s better to have a slightly younger man do that.


#8

I think because it takes many years to “move up the ranks”, as popes are almost always elected from the college of cardinals. You need to go from priest to bishop and Cardinal at least and it all takes time.

There is no advantage to youth or being “young and strong” to be pope; rather, you must be wise, learned and very well educated. It’s no accident that most modern popes know several languages and have many degrees, doctorates etc. St Pope John Paul the Great spoke eight languages fluently, Pope Benedict XVI knew seven, Pope Francis knows four or five depending upon the source, for example.

I googled it so I assume it’s accurate: The youngest cardinal is from Hungary is now in his 60’s. I think before you can be the visible head of the Catholic Church, Christ’s Vicar on earth, you need to prove yourself, have decades of learning, study, writing – so everyone besides your colleague cardinals who elect you–will know you are competent and worthy of the position. Not to mention spiritually mature, pious, no major scandals, etc


#9

:thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: Well said.


#10

My father in law had to pick a year in getting a birth certificate before coming to this country(USA). He could only guess. I suspect most regions did not record this information about common birth, especially in antiquity unless babies were taxable :slight_smile:


#11

No matter how holy he was, it would be unwise for one man’s papacy to go on too long.


#12

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.