Italian newspaper Libero reports that Pope Benedict is thinking about resigning in April next year when he turns 85, according to the Vatican Insider. But the Vatican has dismissed the Libero report, Reuters says.
"The Pope's health is excellent," Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said. "We don't know anything about it. Ask the person who wrote it."
The Vatican Insider adds that the pontiff shows no sign at the moment of being physically, mentally, or psychologically incapacitated - conditions under which the Pope previously told interviewer Peter Seewald, for the book Light of the World, he would consider stepping down.
It says that the Libero report, by journalist Antonio Socci, said: " ... this rumor is circulating high up in the Vatican and therefore deserves close attention. The Pope has not rejected the possibility of his resignation when he turns 85 in April next year."
Socci did not cite any sources or reasons, Reuters said.
The Vatican Insider adds that Socci wrote: "Today, Pope Benedict seems to be in really good form; just the same, there's the issue of his age and just how much energy he has left."
But the journalist also recalls another passage from the Light of the World book interview, related to the clerical abuse scandal: "When there is a great menace, one cannot simply run away from it. That is why, right now, it is definitely not the time to resign."
"It is actually at moments like these that one needs to resist and overcome difficult situations. One can only resign at a time when things are calm, or simply, when nothing more can be done about it. But one cannot run away right when the threat is alive and say, 'Let somebody else take care of it."
Media say Pope may resign in April (Vatican Insider)
Vatican dismisses talk of pope resigning in 2012 (Reuters)
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