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The burden placed upon a Pope is too much for any mere mortal to carry

I AGREE with much of Colette Douglas Home's shrewd comments on the Pope's resignation ("Was this when RC church entered the modern world?", The Herald, February 12).

As she correctly observes – after classifying the papal job description as chairman, monarch and chief executive of a global organisation comprising one billion souls – this is no job for an old man. I would go further and say that it is no job for any mere mortal, regardless of age or gender. The huge burden of expectation heaped on to the shoulders of the Pope from the moment of his accession to the papal throne – and not just by the members of his own flock – must be daunting for the bravest of spirits.

I would also argue that the specific expectation that the Pope's "proclamations on faith and morals are deemed infallible", as defined by the First Vatican Council as late in the life of the church as 1870-71, has not made the papal task any easier. This is especially so in view of the fact that there is widespread ignorance among both loyal Catholics and non-Catholics with regard to the extent to which any particular papal statement can be regarded as infallible.

Perhaps it's high time that both Catholics and other people of faith gave the Pope – whoever he turns out to be – a break. Like the rest of us he is a mere mortal.

Ian O Bayne,

8 Clarence Drive, Glasgow.

Unlike Colette Douglas Home, I do not wish the Catholic Church to enter the modern world, a world of corruption, dishonesty and selfishness.

I hope the next Pope manages to reform the behaviour of Catholics – not the teaching of the Catholic Church, which is and always has been the teaching of Christ. Modernists who wish the church to accommodate itself to their wishes remind me of children who complain to their mothers "You don't love me" when they are not allowed to do things that are bad for them.

John Kelly,

16 Park Avenue, Edinburgh.

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