After grueling trip to Canada, pope acknowledges limitations and hints of future resignation

ROME — Pope Francis admitted on Saturday that following a grueling five-day trip to Canada, his ongoing health issues, including osteoarthritis in his right knee, may require him to “save [my energies] a little to be able to serve the Church”, or even, to “consider the possibility of withdrawing”.

The comments came during an in-flight press conference as Francis returned to Rome after his release in Canada, whose aim was to promote healing and reconciliation with the country’s indigenous population after revelations of abuse in the church-run boarding schools.


“I don’t think I can continue with the same pace of movement as before. I think at my age and with this limitation, I have to save [my energies up] a bit to be able to serve the Church or, conversely, to think about the possibility of stepping down,” Francis said, according to a transcript published by Vatican News, the Vatican’s state-sponsored news agency.

“This [I say] in all honesty: it’s not a disaster, you can change the Pope, you can change, no problem! But I think I have to limit myself a bit with these efforts,” he said.

“I will try to continue making trips and being close to people, because I think it is a form of service, of closeness,” the pope said.

“When the Lord speaks, if the Lord says go ahead, you go ahead, if the Lord says go around the corner, you go around the corner,” Francis added.

Regarding the resignation, the pope also said: “The door is open, it is a normal option, but until today I did not knock on this door, I did not say that I haven’t heard of that possibility but that doesn’t mean the day after tomorrow I won’t start thinking about it, does it? the moment, honestly, I don’t.

“It’s true that we can’t make trips in this state, maybe you have to change the style a bit, reduce, repay the debts of the trips you have yet to make,” he said. declared.

Asked about future trips, Francis indicated a willingness to travel but also concerns about his ability. To date, there has been speculation that Francis may travel to Ukraine to express his concern for the war, and to Kazakhstan for a Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions scheduled for September.

In addition, Francis was also forced to postpone a trip to South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo earlier in July, and questions were asked about when they might be postponed.

“I would like to go to Ukraine. Now let’s see what I find when I see at home,” ope said on Saturday.

“Kazakhstan, for the moment, I would like to go there: it’s a quiet trip, without too much movement, it’s a congress of religions there. But for now, everything remains. Also I have to go to South Sudan before Congo because it is a trip with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of the Church of Scotland, all three together since the three of us did the retreat two years ago. Then the Congo. But it will be next year, because the rainy season… but, let’s see: I have all the good will, but let’s see what the leg says.

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