Will pope Francis limit the pope's power?

I heard trough the media that pope Francis wants to limits the pope’s power and the pope’s always last word thing. Is it true?

I don’t think he can.

One Pope can not bind a future Pope. Each Pope has the full powers of his office. As soon as he ceases to be Pope, any changes to Canon Law that Francis makes, can just be undone by the next Pope.

The only way to limit a Pope’s power would be for an Ecumenical Council to decide that there were doctrinal reason that some powers were not licit.

God Bless

Never mind the media, you should know you can’t trust their reporting on Pope Francis. Have you seen anything actually written or said by him that indicates this?

It wouldn’t surprise me.

While Pope Francis cannot change the nature of the office, he can change the actual operations of the Curia and the way to exercise the Petrine office. He could push decisions down to local dioceses in an exercise of subsidiarty. Likewise, he could expand synodality in the exercise of the Petrine office.

Like what was said, above, he cannot change the nature of the Petrine office nor bind a successor. It’s all a matter of what is the best way to govern, but not a fundamental change in the nature of the Petrine office.

This is exactly right. He can limit himself any way he wants but then he can turn around and reverse that any time he wants. Any future Pope can simply reverse the Francis’ self-imposed limitation.

It’s just nonsense.


You are correct. He could change those things. But equally, the next Pope could change them right back.

Francis can voluntarily limit his own use of the power of his office. But all future Popes, and even Francis himself, always retain the right to take back that power.

God Bless

If the Pope wants to limit what He says, then all he needs do is say nothing. But he cannot limit what future Popes say. Besides, Papal infallibility has not been used since 1950’s. Pius XII was the last one to speak infallibly.

Popes may state their opinions like anyone else and because of their position, we must respect them but that does not comprise infallibility.

Not true. Bl. John Paul II spoke infallibly (in the teaching authority of the ordinary Magisterium) on the issue of the male-only priesthood.

Edit: likewise every Pope who teaches against abortion speaks infallibly,

God Bless

Taken to the limit, do you mean can a Pope eliminate the Papacy altogether? No, but obviously he can resign.

JPII wasn’t the first Pope who taught this. And

As Vatican II noted, the weight to be given such teaching is “according to the mind and the will manifested; this is shown especially by the nature of the documents, by the frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or by the tenor of the verbal expression.” Thus, more weight would have to be given to something taught many times by successive popes than to something taught once by one pope.


=Timi Celcer;11438473]I heard trough the media that pope Francis wants to limits the pope’s power and the pope’s always last word thing. Is it true?

I SUSPECT what it means has NOTHING to do with Papal Authority; rather it aims to get the entire church involved in new ways. Most especially the Bishops.:slight_smile:


What the Pope is doing, essentially, is being very prudent about when he uses that power. He is limiting himself, but not his successors. It is evident, though, that he knows the use of papal prerogative is needed. He’s personally signed excommunication orders and disciplined religious communities almost entirely on his own initiative, for example. In consultation with the Holy Office he has halted some attempts to act contrary to doctrine.

Perhaps he is setting down a model, but his successors do not have to follow that model, just as he is not bound to follow Benedict’s style of governance.

All this highlights the amazing mystery of how the Holy
Spirit governs Christ’s Church. It would be difficult to imagine a greater act of holy
humility than what Pope Benedict did in the way he exercised his Papal power. He
better than anyone saw the great need for making deep and difficult changes in the
way Evangelization must be done in our times and he was humble enough to know he
was not able to make those changes. His resignation was not only heroic it was the very
way he saw he could best serve God’s Holy People. So yes every Pope has a different
style but few would have the clear vision of the Faith that Benedict had and the great
humility to do what he did. History will show the greatness of his Love for the Church and he will share the credit for what ever Francis accomplishes.

Trying to limit the Pope’s power would sort of be like trying to control the direction of the wind.

So far the whole thing is nothing better than a rumor.


I think this rumour comes from here:

Evangelii Gaudium

Just released today.

In particular:

  1. Since I am called to put into practice what I ask of others, I too must think about a conversion of the papacy. It is my duty, as the Bishop of Rome, to be open to suggestions which can help make the exercise of my ministry more faithful to the meaning which Jesus Christ wished to give it and to the present needs of evangelization. Pope John Paul II asked for help in finding “a way of exercising the primacy which, while in no way renouncing what is essential to its mission, is nonetheless open to a new situation”.[35] We have made little progress in this regard. The papacy and the central structures of the universal Church also need to hear the call to pastoral conversion. The Second Vatican Council stated that, like the ancient patriarchal Churches, episcopal conferences are in a position “to contribute in many and fruitful ways to the concrete realization of the collegial spirit”.[36] Yet this desire has not been fully realized, since a juridical status of episcopal conferences which would see them as subjects of specific attributions, including genuine doctrinal authority, has not yet been sufficiently elaborated.[37] Excessive centralization, rather than proving helpful, complicates the Church’s life and her missionary outreach.

I guess we can all read it and form our own opinions; I’ll wait and see how it plays out in reality, without the spin that various groups will try to put on it. I trust that the Holy Father knows what he’s doing.

I beleive that that Pope Francis,since he,s the leader of our faith should not be limited to what he choose to do

I think we can go even earlier in the document with this little gem, my emphases added.

  1. I was happy to take up the request of the Fathers of the Synod to write this Exhortation.[19] In so doing, I am reaping the rich fruits of the Synod’s labours. In addition, I have sought advice from a number of people and I intend to express my own concerns about this particular chapter of the Church’s work of evangelization. Countless issues involving evangelization today might be discussed here, but I have chosen not to explore these many questions which call for further reflection and study. Nor do I believe that the papal magisterium should be expected to offer a definitive or complete word on every question which affects the Church and the world. It is not advisable for the Pope to take the place of local Bishops in the discernment of every issue which arises in their territory. In this sense, I am conscious of the need to promote a sound “decentralization”.

I had a very interesting “debate” with a “traditional leaning” friend today. This did not make him happy.

I have not read the whole document yet, but so far I am very impressed. :slight_smile: I have read lots of church documents while working on my Master’s and this is the first one that has been “user friendly” and hasn’t made my head hurt trying to understand it! :stuck_out_tongue:

Very interesting. Thank you Sir!


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