The intention announced by Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako to present his resignation to the Pope from the patriarchal office at the age of 75 continues to be discussed.
Over the past few weeks, the patriarch's words have aroused controversy and comments on social networks, prompting the patriarch to draw up a clarification note, released in recent days by the official media of the Chaldean Patriarchate. The note clarifies that Patriarch Sako had also mentioned in the past his intention to resign from the patriarchal office when he reaches the threshold of 75 years of age.
According to the canonical provisions in force, all Catholic bishops are required to present their own letter of resignation to the Pope when they reach the age of 75. This rule does not apply to the Patriarchs of the Eastern Catholic Churches, for whom there is no 'retirement' age. "But it is a pity" reads the clarification note issued by the Chaldean Patriarchate "that among the Orientals, both in the institutions and in the political parties and in the Churches, an appropriate 'culture of retiring' is not widespread in due course".
The role of Patriarch - the patriarchal text points out - "is a role of service that does not depend on the individual person who holds it, however charismatic he is". The statement underlines that Patriarch Sako "has served the Church with responsibility and conscience in difficult circumstances" and "does not expect thanks and praise for the service he has rendered".
Louis Sako was born in Zakho, Iraq, on July 4, 1948, and therefore has recently turned 74. He received his priestly ordination on June 1, 1974. On September 27, 2003 he was elected Chaldean Archieparch of Kirkuk. On January 31, 2013 he was elected Patriarch by the Synod of the Chaldean Church, which gathered in Rome, and took the name of Louis Raphaël. On February 1, Pope Benedict XVI granted him the ecclesiastica communio. On June 28, 2018 he was created Cardinal by Pope Francis.