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Aging pope admits he needs to slow down or quit

#Aging #pope #admits #slow #quit

Aging pope admits he needs to slow down or quit

Aboard the Papal Plane (AFP) –

Clément MELKI, Alice RITCHIE

Pope Francis admitted on Saturday he needs to slow down, telling reporters after a six-day trip to Canada that he can’t keep up his pace of international travel – and may have to consider retirement.

“I don’t think I can drive as fast as I used to,” said the 85-year-old Pope, who suffers from knee pain and is increasingly dependent on a wheelchair.

“I feel that at my age and with this limitation, I need to take it easy to serve the Church. Or, alternatively, consider the possibility of resigning.”

It is not the first time that Francis has raised the possibility of following the example set by his predecessor Benedict XVI. to follow, who quit in 2013 due to his own ailing health and now leads a quiet life in Vatican City.

In 2014, a year into his tenure as pope, Francis told reporters that he would consider resigning if his health got in the way of his role as pope.

As Italian media reported in May, during a closed-door meeting with bishops, Pope Francis joked about his knee and said, “Instead of operating, I will resign.”

“The door is open, it’s one of the normal options, but I haven’t knocked on that door until now,” he said on Saturday.

“But that doesn’t mean I won’t start thinking the day after tomorrow, does it? But honestly, I’m not doing that right now.

“This trip was also a bit of a test. It’s true that you can’t travel in this state, you may have to change your style a little, lose weight, pay off the debts of the trips you still have to do, reorganize .

“But the Lord will tell. The door is open, that’s true.”

– Intense speculation –

The comments come after intense speculation about Francis’ future after knee pain forced him to cancel a number of events, including a trip to Africa scheduled for earlier this month.

The conversation was also fueled by his decision to call an extraordinary consistory for August 27, a slow summer month at the Vatican, to create 21 new cardinals – 16 of whom will be under the age of 80 and thus eligible to elect his successor in a future conclave to elect.

Benedict’s decision to leave triggered shock waves in the Catholic Church. He was the first pope to resign since the Middle Ages, but now the precedent has been set.

“Honestly it’s not a catastrophe, it’s possible to change the pope, it’s possible, no problem! But I think I have to limit myself a bit in this effort,” Francis said on Saturday.

He primarily used a wheelchair during his trip to Canada, where he made a historic apology for decades of abuse of Indigenous children in Catholic Church-run residential homes.

But he got up in his “Papamobile” to greet crowds.

Francis said surgery on his knee was not an option, adding that he was still feeling the effects of six hours under anesthesia last summer when he underwent surgery on his colon.

“You don’t play, you don’t play around, with anesthesia,” he said.

But he added: “I will try to keep traveling and being close to people because I think it’s a kind of service and closeness.”

Francis still hopes to reschedule his postponed trip to South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“But that will be next year because of the rainy season — let’s see: I’ve got all the goodwill, but let’s see what the leg says,” he quipped.

The Argentine Pope reiterated that he would like to visit war-torn Ukraine, but gave no details on his plans.

He has planned another trip abroad for a religious congress in Kazakhstan in September.

“For the moment I would like to go: it is a quiet journey, without so much movement,” said the Pope.

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