Vatican dismisses talk of pope resigning

September 25, 2011 17:51

FREIBURG, Germany - The Vatican dismissed an Italian newspaper report on Sunday that Pope Benedict was considering resigning next year when he turns 85.

"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."

Catholic writer Antonio Socci, writing in the Italian newspaper Libero on Sunday, said the pope was considering resigning when he turns 85 next April. He did not cite any sources or reasons.

In a book last year, the pope said he would not hesitate to become the first pontiff to resign willingly in more than 700 years if he felt himself no longer able, "physically, psychologically and spiritually" to run the Catholic Church.

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