Letters: Pope's Resignation, Aging In A Lifetime Appointment



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Robert Siegel and Melissa Block read emails from listeners about Pope Benedict XVI's resignation and aging in a lifetime position.

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And finally this hour, one letter and two corrections. First, on Friday's program during out weekly politics chat, we cited some statistics about civilians killed in U.S. drone attacks. We said three had died so far this year, according to the British-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism.


In fact, the Bureau collected those numbers during the first half of last year. Still, the Bureau does share the conclusion expressed in our coverage, that civilian deaths from drone attacks have decreased significantly.

BLOCK: Now, a geographical correction. During my interview yesterday about the history of papal resignations, we placed the city of Constance in Switzerland. Not so. Constance is in Germany on the border with Switzerland. Furthermore, back in the days of the last papal resignation in the 15th century, Constance was actually considered a free imperial city.

SIEGEL: Finally, to my interview with Dr. Leo Cooney, director of geriatric medicine at Yale University, in light of Pope Benedict's resignation at the age of 85, Dr. Cooney and I talked about whether today's octogenarians are in general more vigorous than previous generations and if they should be in leadership positions.

LEO COONEY: I think people of 85 should be evaluated. I don't think it should be automatic that people who are 86 can't function at a very high level, but I think that they have a higher prevalence of problems and should at least be assessed at that age.

BLOCK: Well, Nicole Caine(ph) of Sunnyvale, California felt our conversation was ageist. She's an occupational therapist and a gerontologist. Caine writes, "simply reaching an arbitrary age should not necessitate cognitive screens to remain in the workforce."

SIEGEL: Tell us what you think at NPR.org. Just click on Contact Us at the bottom of the page. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.