Is He the Retiring Type?

A stray thought sets off talk about a resignation and concern about a latent pontifical problem

Personally, I think the Pope is capable of admitting courageously, 'I can no longer carry out my task in an adequate way.' I believe the Pope would be capable of that if he had the impression that he was no longer able to lead the Church with authority." After Bishop Karl Lehmann of Mainz offered that opinion on German radio, a small earthquake of headlines went through Rome. GERMAN BISHOPS: THE POPE IS SICK, HE SHOULD RESIGN, declared one paper. WOJTILA STEP ASIDE, A STRONG POPE IS NEEDED, said another, using John Paul II's family name.

A papal abdication? The commotion...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!