Should the Pope become senile...

I’m fascinated by the possibility that the degeneration of Pope John Paul II’s health will put the Catholic religion in a bizarre position.

If I’m not mistaken, the facts lay out like so:

The only person who can declare the Pope unfit to continue in his office is the Pope.

The only person who has authority in the Catholic Church over the Pope is, well, God.

Church officials, along with the rest of the world, are becoming increasingly concerned about the state of the Pope’s health. Despite his obvious resilience, his case of Parkinsons’ disease is continuing to worsen, and though by all reports his mental faculties remain unimpaired, his physical condition is not good.

According to medline, a service of the National Institute of Health, some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease include anxiety, confusion, depression, and dementia.

Thus, we have a massive global religion in a position where its leader, who is recognized to be, on occasion, infallible, may become irrational. He cannot be deposed by current canonic law, he can only decide to retire, and he’s stated the he considers his position a calling from God, and will only retire if God tells him to.

What if the Pope starts making proclamations that make no sense whatsoever? What if he starts making declarations that are dangerous to peoples’ lives? What if he does so under the onus of papal infallibilty?

I’m fascinated by the ramifications this has for the Catholic Church.

Everybody sing: “We did it before and we can do it again.”

My lord, man. I read the title and thought it was a yes or no question. :slight_smile:

Well I think he has had senile ideas and proclamations that make no sense for over 20 years… he certainly made decisions that are dangerous to peoples lives too. Its just getting worse now.

His staying in office until death is cruel and unecessary. Retire the poor old guy and put in another “chosen by god” please.

The pope isn’t really neccesary for the running of the Catholic Church. I mean, he’s important, but should he go senile, or get seriously ill, the Curia can, for the most part, function without his active participation.

Personally, I think there’s more entertainment value in letting him fulfill his term. As it is, he’s added a valuable simile to my vocabulary: “He was so drunk he was drooling like a Pope!”

I read somewhere recently that he had told his top guys that if/when the time comes that he is unable to fulfill his duties that they can replace him.
I’ll try and find a cite.

If JPII really does lapse into dementia, things will go as they’ve gone for the last 15 years or so…Ratfinkzinger will run things, “speaking for the Pope”.

I’d get incensed about the “good” cardinal, but I think I’ve exhausted that reservoir over time. Now I’m just “meh”…

I predict a papal bull against whippersnappers.

What happens when the pope goes senile?

Why do I always read the title of this topic as “Should the Pope Become Sterile”?

"Should the Pope become senile… " No, if he can help it.

Well, that’s what I thought you asked. :wink: