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Pope Francis

Complete program of pope's trip to Fatima on May 12-13

March 20, 2017. The Vatican has published Pope Francis' program for his upcoming trip to Fatima.
Pope Francis

Pope Francis will travel to Egypt from 28 to 29 April 2017

March 18, 2017. In response to the invitation from the President of the Republic, the Bishops of the Catholic Church, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II and the Grand Imam of the Mosque of Al Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayyib, Pope Francis will make an Apostolic trip to the Arab Republic of Egypt from 28 to 29 April 2017, visiting the city of Cairo. The programme of the trip will be published shortly.
Pope Francis

Pope to meet with most powerful European leaders on March 24

March 3, 2017. On March 24 a historic meeting will take place between the pope and many of the most powerful heads of government throughout Europe. The meeting was announced by the Director of the Press Office of the Holy See, Greg Burke and will begin at 6 p.m. in the Sala Regia of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican.

Card Saraiva: John Paul II and Paul VI also considered stepping down


Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
"When I received the news I was very serene, very calm. It's quite clear that he made the decision freely. He even explained the reasons why he came to this conclusion, so it wasn't something spontaneous. He simply recognized that in the last few months, his physical energy had diminished. He decided that the best thing to do for the Church was to resign.”

Even though the news was unexpected the Cardinal says that Paul VI and even John Paul II also considered the possibility of stepping down. 

Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
"If we take a look at his predecessors, they also considered leaving office. Paul VI thought about it and even created a commission of Canon Law experts, to study the possibility. They advised him not to, because they thought a resignation could  have a psychological effect on his successor and vice versa.  John Paul II also thought about stepping down, but he was advised not to and he didn't.”

Even though a resignation is unheard of in modern times, Canon Law does allow it. Cardinal Saraiva says it's part of the logic of the Church. 

Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
"The idea of having a Pope resign isn't new.  Benedict XVI's predecessors decided not to resign, because they thought it wasn't the best thing for the Church at that time. But Canon Law does allow it.”

So with his decision, at the end of February. Benedict XVI will become the fourth Pope in history to step down. The last one to do so was Gregory XII, roughly 600 years ago.