The Catholic Church has officially seen the retirements of five (5) Popes, although murky records have it that there where a couples others in the ancient times. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is the last Pope to resign after 600-years of such an occurrence.
Pope Francis after launching the Scholas Occurentes global educational initiative on Sunday, 29th May at the Vatican, was interviewed as to whether he ever considered retirement, given the enormous task of the Papacy or personal capacities and will. The Holy Father responded saying, “I never thought of quitting being pope, or of leaving because of the many responsibilities.”
The Holy Father directly declared that he had never conceived any intentions of retiring from the Papacy despite many responsibilities of the office, he instead explained that he drives satisfaction to calling of his life and vocation through his responsibilities as the Pope of the Church.
Pope Francis has in the past declared that he hopes not to find himself in any position that would demand that he resign from the Papacy and he still maintains that when approached with the question on Sunday after the event of the launching that took place at the Vatican.
Benedict IX sold the papacy to his godfather and retired around 1044. Gregory VI, Benedict IX’s godfather, was forced to resign around 1046 because he bought the papacy. Celestine V resigned in 1294 after being pope for only five months because he was a hermit by inclination who was “unprepared and unfit” for the role. Gregory XII retired in 1425 to end what was known as the “Great Schism,” a division over ideals within the Catholic Church that nearly brought the whole institution down.