Pope Benedict XVI became the first pope to retire in more than 600 years when in 2013 instead of waiting for the grim reaper–or in his case the Holy Father–to give him a break he took it upon himself. In a press conference published in full by America Magazine Benedict’s popular replacement, the Argentine Pontiff Pope Francis, seems grateful for the precedent. Francis is a hard-working, hard-traveling leader who, at 77, has the vision to see his life and abilities in perspective. “I think that the emeritus pope is already an institution because our life gets longer and at a certain age there isn’t the capacity to govern well because the body gets tired,” he said.
Asked about his own retirement–would he follow Benedict’s lead?–Pope Francis responded: “But you could say to me, if you at some time felt you could not go forward, I would do the same! I would do the same. I would pray, but I would do the same. He [Benedict] opened a door that is institutional, not exceptional.”