Vatican City, Feb 15, 2018 / 10:22 am
On Thursday Pope Francis tweaked the Church's policies on bishops and Curial officials reaching the age of retirement, indicating that they should accept what God wants, whether accepting retirement or accepting continued service.
The changes were made through a motu proprio entitled Imparare a congedarsi, meaning "Learning to take your leave," published Feb. 15.
Previous norms stated that the appointment of most bishops serving as curial officials and papal diplomats lapsed after the officials had reached the Vatican's usual age of retirement of 75. Now, like diocesan bishops, they are requested to resign at 75, and will continue in their positions unless the Pope accepts their resignation. He may also request them to stay on, at his discretion.
In the motu proprio, signed Feb. 12, Pope Francis cited the generous commitment and experience of many bishops in dioceses or working in the Curia, as a reason for the update in norms.
He noted that the period of transition, whether a resignation is accepted or not, can require an interior attitude of acceptance, and that even the conclusion of an ecclesial office itself is a service and requires "a new form of availability."
"This interior attitude is necessary both when, for reasons of age, one must prepare oneself to leave office, and when asked to continue that service for a longer period, even though the age of seventy-five has been reached," he said.