Early Retirement of the Pope


Anonymous asked this question on 8/10/2000:


I love and admire John Paul II. But I grieve when I see him on TV with his hands trembling and his problems when walking.

Shouldn't he retire? He has done so much and he has sacrificed himself so much. They have even shot him. I think he deserves a rest don't you?

What do you think?

Thank you for your thoughts.

PS. Please, I would like very much if those answering tell if they are Catholic or not"




The joy of the risen Lord be in your heart.

God bless you’re for being distressed and for wishing John Paul might get some rest. Together with his duties as bishop of Rome he is a pilgrim to all regions of the earth so he might fulfill the mission God gave Peter: (Luke 22) 31 "strengthen your brothers." And (John 21:16) "Shepherd My sheep." By the way, did you know that Peter is mentioned 158 times in the NT? The Holy Father has a transcendent and inspiring mission at the service of and together with his brothers the bishops.

You are right Our Holy Father is special. History will call him "the great". Look at what he has accomplished. Almost single-handed he has originated in Catholic Church the "new evangelization". His ecumenism is admired by all. Remember the meeting of religions in Assisi? To the Orthodox he has proffered his disposition to reflect with them about the mission of Peter in relation with the patriarchs. And everywhere he goes he wants to meet the representatives of other faith and creeds.

Only recently he was elemental in establishing the commission of Jews, Christians and Muslims for peace. His is untiring in speaking out for the poor, for those without defense. Remember that he called for condoning the enormous debts of the poor countries. He has inspired the peregrination of the cross of evangelization in South America, the Jubilee we are living in this moment and many other events that shook the Church members in order to wake up. Regarding his teaching it’s admirable. If you search you can find that he has spoken on all the important questions that moves modern man with compassion, hope and firmness. He is very modern; he likes the young people. He himself described his task as the application of the Vatican II. I could go on and on.

I’ve had had the privilege to celebrate very near him the Eucharist the two times he visited Peru. I try to be up-to-date on his teaching. I confess I worried about his health and mental state. But when I saw how he said goodbye to Fidel in Cuba who had tried to make out of his visit a political hoopla and how letting aside his written notes with kindness and humor put everything in its place I didn’t worry any more. I have talked with bishops who have been at his table – he invites them when they visit ad limina – and they told me that he is very much on top of the problems of every country. He will rest when the Lord calls him. In the meantime I am waiting for more inspirations and teachings. And I pray for him.

Modern society has idolized youth. The OT and the NT recommend giving a special place to the old ones because they have wisdom. Worldwide we are losing this wisdom because we put the old ones aside. I remember information a read years ago. In France they had built a giant dam. The resulting cheap electricity spouted industry and commerce. They built houses and apartments for young couples with schools, daycare centers, malls, everything. But after some years the authorities observed an exodus of the young families. The reason: there was no place for the grandparents and many preferred an other job in order to live near them.

I vote and pray that John Paul II doesn’t retire. Let’s pray for him and let’s thank God for giving us this Pope.



PS. May I suggest some additional reasons why other people – not you – want him to retire?

The modern society forces men and women into retirement at 65. They are put out to pasture because they are not as productive as the young. They get sick and that means spending on money them. Oh yes, there are wonderful programs to entertain them and because they vote they are vital and great in Peru until March or in the US until October! Other countries supply their election month. I remember one politician who cried even some tears when he talked about the poor, dear oldies! The old ones are not wanted because they are not useful money wise.

But there is more. Look at the commercials on TV. The ideal is the young bodied and sexual attractive person. Sure when they are marketable they are mentioned too. This is all over the planet. Global teaching. The US dollar culture is not innocent in this affair. But greed is a universal vice.

The consequence? Nobody wants even to look at the old ones. So they preclude them in sanatoria. Oh, they are cared for and get all the attention they need. Well except that of the children and grandchildren. Can you imagine that a tourist won a trial against a company that sold him the vacation package because they had accepted an old invalid person and had him stay in the next hotel room? He sued because seeing him diminished his enjoyment.

Caring for the old ones costs money. In Holland those in charge of healing people have permission kill. They wear a white smock. I remember information given before a parliamentary investigation panel. A physician interned his terminal patient in a hospital in order to check him up. Next day he didn’t find his patient. An other practitioner had decreed his death because he needed the bed. They are establishing now "secure" hospitals were you could be treated without being in danger. Abortion and euthanasia are consequences of a society that adores the golden calf.

That’s why Christian families never preclude their granddads and grand moms in retirement homes except when there is no other choice. But then they want them near.

Looking at an old person that is declining reminds us all an inevitable fact: We all will die. Our death is one of the most important moments of our life. But we are afraid. We don’t want to die. So we hide it.

I hope that John Paul be our Pope for many years more so that the world learns that in midst frailties of age the old and wise people can serve and can spread beauty around you.











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