Throughout history, the trend has been for Popes to die in office, whether as the 'White' Pope as head of the Roman Catholic Church, and that as commonly known simply as the 'Pope', and for the 'Black' Pope', as the head of the Jesuit Order officially known as the "Superior General'
It has been rare to non existent for a Pope - whether 'White' nor 'Black' to resign and thereafter serve as some sort of Pope emeritas. Thus the standard practice would be having the 2 Popes in current office, with their predecessors deceased.
That is until 2008, with the resignation and replacement of the Jesuit Superior General Peter Kolvenbach with Adolpho Nicholas. That is barely mentioned in the U.S. media, indeed with a N.Y. Times article that does not appear in the print edition, and which is only accessible as an independent url and not through the N.Y. Times web-site.
With the current Black Pope Nicholas, and the 'emeritus' Black Pope Kolvenbach, plus the then current 'White' Pope Benedict XVI, that would make 3 Popes.
That is until early 2013, with the surprise February 11 announcement of Pope Benedict XIV's retirement, mere hours prior to the Vatican being struck by lightening twice, and the highly rushed proceedings for his replacement, culminating with the March 13 announcement of the selection of Pope Francis S.J. - the 1st Jesuit to become 'White' Pope - therefore making 4 Popes, with 3 - Kolvenbach, Nicholas, and Francis - as Jesuits.
And then in May 2014, the Jesuit Superior General/'Black' Pope Adolpho Nicholas announces his impending retirement.
Communication of General Congregation 36
TO THE WHOLE SOCIETY
P .C. [Pax Christi]
Several years have passed since my election as Superior General of the Society and I have recently reached the age of 78. Reflecting on the coming years, I have reached the personal conviction that I should take the needed steps towards submitting my resignation to a General Congregation. After obtaining the initial approval of the Assistants ad providentiam and having informed his Holiness Pope Francis, I formally consulted the Assistants ad providentiam and the Provincials, as our law requires (NC 362). The result of the consultation is favorable towards the convening of a General Congregation.
After having discussed the matter with my Council, through this letter I wish to inform the whole Society that, towards the end of this year, I will convoke the 36th General Congregation, to be held during the final months of the year 2016.
Therefore, the meeting of Provincials originally scheduled for January 2015 in Yogyakarta and convoked on 12 March of this year (Circular Letter 2014/03) is canceled.
Let us ask Our Lady of the Way to place the Society with Her Son on this journey of discernment that we now begin.
Fraternally yours in the Lord,
Adolfo Nicolás, S.I.
That impending 36th Jesuit Jesuit Convocation to announce Nicholas' replacement in early 2016, would be a mere 8 years after the 35th which had selected Nicholas to replace the as of 2015 still living Kolvenbach. As such, that would make 5 living Popes.
Notably, accompanying all of this is the pronouncement of Pope Francis S.J. that he expects his Papacy term to be short lived, expecting to die in office via some sort of unusual circumstances.
Once more the 78-year-old Francis seems to be racing against the clock, and many in Rome are speculating that his decision to declare such a momentous event so soon in his papacy, barely two years after his election, is to be sure he gets one in before time runs out, as if he is holding a sort of last hurrah or a farewell ceremony. And there are sad, almost sinister undertones.
“This pope seems to be in a hurry to get as much done as he can, as if he’s got a deadline,” Marco Politi, a Vatican expert, said at a small roundtable discussion on Francis and the length of his papacy last week. “He keeps talking about how his time is short, but it’s not because he’s sick. He has told his friends that he feels it will be an ‘event’ that wipes him out, not a natural end.”
In an interview with the Mexican network Televisa this month on the occasion of his second anniversary as pope, the pontiff repeated the idea that his days are numbered. He said he had a feeling that his reign at the helm of the Roman Catholic Church wouldn’t last too long, echoing previous comments in which he said he had a “vague sensation” that his time was short. “I have the feeling that my pontificate will be brief—four or five years,” he said. “I don’t know, even two or three.”
3 Popes as of 2008; 4 Popes as of 2013; and 5 Popes as of 2016.
And with Francis S.J. predicting his demise within 2 or 3, or 4 or 5 years - by 2018 or as early as 2015 - and with Kolvenbach, Nicholas and Benedict remaining alive, the question remains whether this number of living Popes may rise as high as 5 or 6- depending perhaps, regarding Francis S.J., on the definition of "demise".
Perhaps for some sort of satanic ritual?
After all there are versions of the satanic horned god figure with 5 or 6 points.