Vatican quashes pope retirement rumours
The Vatican said Sunday it had no knowledge of a report in an Italian newspaper which said that Pope Benedict XVI could retire after his 85th birthday next year.
"The pope is doing very well. The current trip is very intense. But from the point of view of his health, it's been very successful," Benedict's spokesman Federico Lombardi told reporters, adding that he had "no knowledge" of the information printed in the Libero newspaper.
According to the report, which quoted no source and gave no further details, the pope was "concerned that he may not be able to bear the weight" of his office.
"He is considering taking his leave in April, but he may decide otherwise," the Milan-based newspaper said, insisting it was only relaying a rumour that was doing the rounds in the Vatican.
"What we all know is what the pope wrote in his book 'Light of the World'. I don't have any more information," Lombardi said.
"The strength and robustness he has shown during this trip provide eloquent proof of his capacity to continue bearing very heavy engagements."
In his book, published in November last year, Benedict did not rule out retiring if his health demanded it.
But last month in Madrid, the head of the Roman Catholic Church insisted he very much hoped to attend the World Youth Day in Brazil in 2013.
His four-day trip around Germany, his first state visit to his native land, progressed at a breakneck pace, with the pope delivering 18 speeches and celebrating mass for cheering crowds of thousands in three cities.
© 2011 AFP