Francis, who turned 86 on Saturday, had surgical procedure in 2021 to restore a bowel narrowing and has been hobbled by knee ache that for months noticed him use a wheelchair. Recently, he has more and more used a cane as a substitute of the wheelchair to get round in public.
Requested what occurs if well being points or an accident instantly leaves a pope unable to do his job, and whether or not there ought to be a rule for such situations, Francis replied, “In observe there may be already a rule.”
“I’ve already signed my renunciation,” Francis revealed, noting that he did so early within the papacy.
“I signed it and mentioned: ‘If I ought to turn into impaired for medical causes or no matter, right here is my resignation. Right here you may have it,’” he mentioned, referring to Cardinal Bertone, who stepped down as secretary of state in October 2013, within the first months of Francis’ papacy.
The pontiff quipped that now that he has revealed the existence of his resignation observe, “somebody will run as much as Bertone (saying), ‘Give me that piece of paper.’”
Francis mentioned he was certain Bertone would have handed on the letter to the present secretary of state, Parolin.
In previous remarks, Francis has hailed the choice of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, to resign as a result of he felt attributable to advancing age he wouldn’t be finest capable of perform his duties. Benedict, who resides in a monastery on the Vatican’s grounds, was the primary pontiff to resign in 600 years, and his stepping down paved the way in which for Francis’ election as the primary pope from South America.
Francis within the interview performed down his mobility problem, saying “One governs with the pinnacle, not the knee.”
Catholic church regulation requires a papal resignation be “freely and correctly manifested” — as was the case when Benedict startled the world when he introduced his resignation to a gathering of prelates on the Vatican in February 2013.