Pope John Paul II still can carry out his mission and shows no sign of resigning, several cardinals told media outlets yesterday.
"He still seems to be able to do it," Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, archbishop of Washington, D.C., told the Associated Press yesterday. "As long as God lets him do it, he's going to continue doing it."
On several occasions, the pope said clearly that he does not intend to resign.
Francis Cardinal George, archbishop of Chicago, said the pope sees value in continuing his pontificate “as a weakened man, a man who isn't up to the physical standards that you would associate with him even a few years ago.” In an interview with the Chicago Sun Times yesterday, Cardinal George called the pope’s spirit “indomitable.” “He is a man who suffers and explains what that suffering means…. This is how the world is saved, by filling up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ,” said the cardinal.
“On the other hand, you can't have a dysfunctional pope, mentally, or someone who can't communicate or mentally isn't capable of making decisions,” he said. “At least it would cause enormous problems in the Church because there's no replacement.”.
Portuguese Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, head of the Congregation of the Causes of Saints, told the Portuguese newspaper Diario de Noticias that only the pope can decide what he would do if he loses the ability to communicate.
"Evidently it would have to be evaluated, it would have consequences, but it wouldn't be fundamental for the pope's work," he was quoted as saying. "The word is very important for those who govern, but the Holy See is governed more by the head than by the word."
"It must be so hard for him," Cardinal McCarrick told the AP, referring to the pope’s history as an excellent communicator. "Because I remember 25 years ago, he strode across the stage of the world and he was so eloquent and he could speak so beautifully in so many languages. It must be so hard, but he keeps going, (saying) 'Give me the next page, I'm going to read it.'"
“I've seen this man pray,” McCarick continued. “He is a holy man. He is never alone; he is with the Lord always. He's down to earth, he's very jovial, but he's praying all the time. I trust that communion with the Lord, that he will make the right decision if he has to. I have great confidence in that. “
In an interview with AGI, Pio Cardinal Laghi said rumors of the pope’s resignation are "completely unfounded.” The pope “does not feel incapacitated in any way and governs with his head and his heart,” he said.
The former apostolic nuncio in South America and the United States called the pope an “athlete of the spirit,” adding that he was certain that the pope ” is in possession of all his faculties, mental, spiritual and of the heart. He continues to appeal to young people, as he did last Sunday, and he was certainly not saying goodbye. He is a fully active pope.”