Rome, Italy, Aug 30, 2021 / 00:00 am
Despite ongoing rumors, there is no confirmation that Pope Francis is drafting a document that defines the role and tasks of a Pope Emeritus. Nor are there any signs that Pope Francis may soon give up the Petrine ministry, as Benedict XVI did before him.
Yet, some sources in the Vatican continue to believe that these scenarios are possible, especially since they seem intertwined: The rumors on Pope Francis’ resignation are born of the rumors of a possible document on the status of the Pope Emeritus, which also prompts a discussion on an eventual conclave.
If a document on the role and functions of the Pope Emeritus is under study, it is a closely held secret. A reliable Vatican source says that such an undertaking cannot be ruled out because of the possibility that the Pope is drafting the document personally and that he will submit it to the offices responsible for publication only once the draft is completed.
The pressures to better define the status of a Pope Emeritus began some time ago. At one point, the theologian Andrea Grillo even went as far as to ask for an "institutional death" to be established for a Pope Emeritus, lamenting the continuous declarations of Benedict XVI, which, according to him, were “interference.”