Should the pope retire? YES

There is no shame in stepping down from a position in which one is no longer capable of performing his or her duties, so it’s about time that Pope John Paul II steps down from the throne that the Catholic Church has given him and allow room for a younger, more capable individual to take over. It is true that the church operates similar to a monarchy in which death is the only reason to replace its highest-ranked leader. However, for the well being of the administrative functions of the church, the pope should resign.

By resigning, Pope John Paul II will ensure that the transfer of one pope to the next will be well-organized. If he suddenly dies, the church will have to immediately appoint a new pontiff and will not have much time to choose a proper replacement.

If the pope does not die, but announces his resignation, the College of Cardinals, which is in charge of appointing someone to the position, will have an adequate amount of time to review candidates for the job, and hence make a more appropriate decision.

Many people believe that the pope is not allowed to retire, but this statement is not true. According to a Code of Cannon Law, a pope is allowed to retire only if the reason is not because of any outside pressures or fraudulent acts.

Once a resignation is handed to the College of Cardinals, the process of electing a new pope begins. As astonishing as it may seem to some people, there have been some cases in which a pope has resigned.

For instance, Pope Celestine V was appointed pontiff under the reign of Charles II of Sicily in 1294. To avoid conflict with King Charles II, he resigned. This action helped establish, as a matter of church law, that a pope may freely resign his office.

There was also Gregory XII, who was the last pope to resign (1406-1417.) He unselfishly resigned when two other rivals were claiming the papacy. He decided to step down if his resignation would be officially recognized by the church; the church agreed, and they chose a new pope.

For those who believe that the resignation of the pope would cause problems for the church and its followers, history shows that this is not the case.

With the previous popes who did retire, nothing serious happened. There was controversy and disbelief among the church’s followers, but life continued as normal. There was no major turn of event and faithful Catholics didn’t see it as the end of the world.

It is not as if the pope has a very important job that the person who replaces John Paul II would have a hard time adapting to. The pope has very few actual responsibilities; he is surrounded by an army of assistants who do everything for him. All he can really do is agree or disagree with something; for God’s sake, he can’t even stand up on his own. That’s evidence enough that he should step aside and take care of his health. His most complicated task is carrying out his scheduled masses, and lately he’s needed help with even that task.

Replacng John Paul II with a younger, more efficient pope will only benefit the church in a good way. All those assistants the current pope has can focus their attention on other things concerning the church, rather than running after John Paul to see what he needs. Catholics need to look at the pope as what he really is, and not what the church makes him out to be; he is really the head of the church and nothing else. There is nothing special about the man which cannot be replaced. Catholics obviously know this since they feel that death is a better way to replace him than through resignation.

Don’t kid yourself; maybe on paper and in theory the pope is the closest person to God, but in reality, he’s a normal human being who has health issues like anyone else his age. If the notion that he shouldn’t resign because he is the closest man to God doesn’t go away, he will be close enough to meet the Creator pretty soon, leaving a chaotic situation within the Catholic Church.

My generation will not remember, but when President Richard Nixon resigned it shocked America and other parts of the world, but nothing bad happened.

President Gerald Ford came in and did things to the best of his abilities until his presidency was over without a problem. So do everyone a favor and resign, John Paul, it won’t be the end of the world.