Rumors of Pope resignation: Francis meets with all 200 cardinals

The Vatican is very taciturn about the reasons why Francis is calling all 200 cardinals to Rome.

Rumors of Pope resignation: Francis meets with all 200 cardinals

The Vatican is very taciturn about the reasons why Francis is calling all 200 cardinals to Rome. The unusual general assembly feeds rumors about a possible Pope's resignation. Officially, a reform of the constitution is the topic.

As is usually the case with a conclave, around 200 cardinals in the Vatican met with Pope Francis for a general assembly. At the meeting, the head of the Catholics wants to discuss the new constitution of the Papal States called ""Predicate Gospel" (Preach the Gospel), which has been in force since the beginning of June. The Holy See gave few details before the two-day meeting. Also limited at noon The communication is limited to a single sentence: "In the Vatican, in the presence of the Holy Father Francis, the meeting of cardinals for the new Apostolic Constitution Predicate Gospel is taking place." The only public event planned is a final mass on Tuesday.

The 85-year-old pontiff wants to reform his church, and the new constitution is part of this plan. Among other things, he wants to open up the Vatican authorities so that lay people or women can also have access to senior positions. For many, however, the Pope's plans do not go far enough. A group of women protested in the morning next to St. Peter's Basilica with red umbrellas, on which they campaigned for more say for women with phrases such as "Reform means women" or "More than half of the church".

A cardinal assembly in the middle of August is very unusual. With two further appointments directly before the meeting, the pope had further fueled the rumors about a possible resignation. Vatican observers currently consider such a step to be unlikely. Nevertheless, the poor health of the Holy Father has fueled speculation for months.

Francis appointed 20 new cardinals on Saturday. On Sunday he prayed at the grave of the pope who was the first in church history to voluntarily resign. He flew by helicopter to the Italian city of L'Aquila, where he met relatives of victims of the deadly 2009 earthquake and prayed at the tomb of Celestine V in the Basilica of Santa Maria di Collemaggio.

In 1294, Pope Celestine V was the first pope to voluntarily resign from office. Also Pope Benedict XVI. prayed at this grave a few years before his resignation in 2013. Benedict's visit and the filing of his badge of office at the tomb of Celestine V were later interpreted as a silent announcement of his resignation.

With the appointment of 20 new cardinals, Pope Francis has at least had a noticeable impact on the future of the Catholic Church. 16 of them are allowed to vote for a new head of the Catholic Church in a conclave, i.e. a papal election, because they have not yet exceeded the prescribed age limit of 80 years.

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