Age Is No Barrier

15 March 2013

If you’re over 45 years old, you’ve probably found that getting a new job isn’t an easy task.

We’re stuck in our ways, unable to learn new skills and technology, our brains are less creative and have slowed down (apparently).

However, age doesn’t appear to be a barrier if you want to become the CEO of the largest business in the world (and probably the richest).  The new Pope is 76, and he’s by no means the oldest appointed to the job (the oldest I could find is 79).  Cardinals over the age of 80 aren’t permitted to take part in the Papal Enclave so I’m presuming that a Cardinal over the age of 80 can’t be elected.

So if you’re getting on a bit and having difficulty finding employment, the Catholic Church would appear to be a good career move – as long as you’re male and unmarried. Although I think that as this is the first Pope in 1000 years who isn’t European, it will probably be another 1000 before an Australian is chosen. 

The one and only English Pope was Hadrian IV who was appointed in 1154 – he was only 54 at the time but life expectancy was probably no greater than 60 (and Hadrian died at the age of 59).  I hadn’t realised that he’d attended the Abbey School in St Albans, as I used to live up the road from there. 




  1. You should remember that the average life expectancy was less than 60 – so if you account for high (pre-vaccination) child mortality rate, there would have to be a quite a few old farts in the day. Especially those with very privileged lifestyles. And I doubt few would be more privileged than that of a cardinal or pope…

  2. I had no idea you’re from St Albans! I grew up in Luton, went to St George’s in Harpenden! Now I live in South Wales, just up from Cardiff in the valleys 🙂
    p.s. would it kill them to appoint someone who could realistically do 20 years in the job to save them having to do the smoke thing again so soon?

    • I’m not “from” St Albans. I’m not really from anywhere! I’ve lived in about 15 towns in the UK. Lived in St. Albans when I was about 14 for a year. Attended Francis Bacon School and lived in the Peahen (parents were the Managers).

  3. Perhaps there’s a causal link between celibacy and the Pope’s ability to get a top job at an improbably old age. (Flaw: celibacy is by no means guaranteed here, apparently – perhaps not being married is the key.)

    • You may have noticed I never mentioned celibacy as I doubt whether it’s a prerequisite.

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