(Vatican Radio) The Holy See on Wednesday announced changes to the Church law governing the resignation of diocesan bishops: ordinaries, coadjutors, and auxiliaries; the changes also regard Cardinals who head Roman curial dicasteries, and other curial department heads who are not cardinals. The changes have been made by Papal rescript, and were announced by the Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
Specifically, the 7-article rescript confirms the retirement age for ordinaries, coadjutors and auxiliaries at 75. Article 3 of the rescript further states that any bishop whose resignation is accepted, thereby ceases to hold any other office at the national level (e.g. in the bishops’ conference of his country), which he held in virtue of his pastoral charge.
Article 4 of the rescript confirms the right of a pastor to offer his resignation before the age of 75, for reason of illness or for other grave reason. Article 5 specifies that, in some circumstances, competent authority may ask a bishop to offer his resignation from pastoral office.
Article 6 of the rescript deal with Cardinals who are Department Heads of the Roman Curia and the other Cardinals who held office appointed by the Pope. These, too, are required to submit their resignations at the age of seventy-five years. Article 7 deals with the heads of dicasteries who are not cardinals, with the secretaries and the bishops who held other offices appointed by the Pope. These lose their office upon reaching 75 years of age. Those who serve as members of dicasteries cease in their membership thereof upon reaching the age of 80. Those, who are members of certain dicasteries in virtue of their being heads of another, cease in their membership of those other dicasteries when they cease in their leadership position.
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