On Thursday Pope Francis tweaked the Church’s policies on bishops and Curial officials reaching the age of retirement, indicating that they should accept what God wants, whether accepting retirement or accepting continued service.
The changes were made through a motu proprio entitled Imparare a congedarsi, meaning “Learning to take your leave,” published Feb. 15.
Previous norms stated that the appointment of most bishops serving as curial officials and papal diplomats lapsed after the officials had reached the Vatican’s usual age of retirement of 75. Now, like diocesan bishops, they are requested to resign at 75, and will continue in their positions unless the Pope accepts their resignation. He may also request them to stay on, at his discretion.
In the motu proprio, signed Feb. 12, Pope Francis cited the generous commitment and experience of many bishops in dioceses or working in the Curia, as a reason for the update in norms.
Francis explained that the transition from active service to retirement requires stripping oneself of the desire for power and or the need to be indispensable to others.
On the other hand, if a bishop’s resignation is not accepted, and he is asked to continue his service for a longer period, this requires that he abandon his personal desires and projects “with generosity,” the Pope said.
He also emphasized that such a request of the Pope should not be considered a “privilege, or a personal triumph,” a favor between friends, or even an act of gratitude for the service he has provided.
Full story at Catholic News Agency.