Pope marks several milestones this week
Pope Benedict celebrated his 85th birthday on Monday and marks another important milestone today.
The pontiff celebrates the 7th anniversary of his election to the papacy today. I have read several stories on different websites that the pope might be thinking about retiring to enjoy the rest of his days without the demands of the papacy. No one has heard that come from the pope himself so it’s safe to say that that isn’t happening at this time.
Here’s an Associated Press story from Vatican City that sheds some light on the pontiff’s milestones and his thoughts about them:
VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI prayed Sunday for the strength to carry on as he marks two major milestones this week: his 85th birthday and the seventh anniversary of his election to the papacy.
The comments, while innocuous, were the clearest sign yet that Benedict has no intention of resigning anytime soon despite his age and increasing frailty.
“Next Thursday, on the occasion of the seventh anniversary of my election to the See of Peter, I ask for your prayers, so that the Lord gives me the strength to fulfill the mission he entrusted to me,” he said in French to thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square.
Benedict has slowed down recently – he was seen in public for the first time using a cane when he boarded his plane for Mexico last month. During the long, six-day trip to Mexico and Cuba, he at times looked exhausted. He looked similarly tired during the busy Holy Week services that greeted him upon his return to Rome.
But Benedict’s health is remarkably strong for someone his age. He has never canceled a planned event due to illness and suffers from no known chronic illnesses. Few men his age go to work every day, run a 1 billion-strong church, write books, deliver speeches and meet with visiting heads of state.
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