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Vatican issues new rules for bishops' resignations

November 05, 2014

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The Vatican has announced new rules governing the resignation of bishops serving in dioceses or in the Roman Curia.

The new rules, contained in a rescript from Pope Francis, confirm the current rule that bishops should submit their resignations upon reaching the age of 75. The rescript indicates that this rule also applies to cardinals in the Roman Curia. A prelate’s resignation takes effect only when it is accepted by the Pope, who may choose to leave the bishop in office.

The new Vatican document affirms that a bishop has the right to offer his resignation before reaching 75, because of illness or other serious reason. Also, the rescript notes that the Pope may ask for a bishop’s resignation “after informing him of the cause for this request, and listening closely to his reasons, in fraternal dialogue.”

The new rules specify that when a bishop’s resignation takes effect, he also ceases to hold any other office—such as an post in the national episcopal conference—that is attached to his diocesan office.


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