ASK FATHER: Can a Pope name his own successor?

Posted September 3, 2017 5:51 pm by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

ASK FATHER: Can a Pope name his own successor?

From a reader…
QUAERITUR:
If a Pope wanted to ensure that the next holder of his office would be of like mind and continue his policies, is there any moral or theological impediment to his naming his own successor before his death?
Interesting theoretical question.  I am unaware of any opinions by good, specific writers on the topic, though it is possible that someone like St Robert Bellarmine has already worked through the issues.   I’ll take a stab anyway, animi caussa.
So, can a Pope do this, or has a Pope done this, or should a Pope do this?
There are a couple things to be held in tension.   First, the

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