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Pope Francis confesses he seeks advice on resigning


Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

Hugues Lefèvre - published on 03/10/23

In an interview, the Pope explained that he often asks those close to him how they think he is doing and if they believe he should resign.

In an interview with Swiss television RSI to be broadcast on Sunday evening, March 12, 2023, Pope Francis spoke about the situations where he would consider resigning. He also talked about Benedict XVI and announced that he has asked that the funeral ceremonies for popes emeritus and reigning popes be studied. 

On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of his election on March 13, 2013, Pope Francis gave an interview in Italian to the RSI television channel. During the discussion, of which excerpts were published ahead of time on the Swiss media outlet’s website, Francis confided that he considers himself to be “old,” after 10 years as pontiff.

“I have less physical resistance,” he said, explaining that his knee injury was “a physical humiliation.” The Pope admitted that having to use a wheelchair made him “a little embarrassed.” 

The Pope has talked before about facing his physical ailment with spiritual and humorous perspectives.

“A bit of pain can be humbling, a blessing in disguise…” he said in an interview in early May 2022. And before that, he spoke to pilgrims from Slovakia about offering up the “humiliation” for them.

As well, he joked with a group of religious from Mexico that what he needed to heal the ailment was actually tequila!

Reasons to resign

In response to a question on reasons why he would consider resigning, Pope Francis told the Swiss channel that having “a weariness that doesn’t make you see things clearly. The lack of clarity, of knowing how to evaluate situations. Also the physical problem.” 

Last December, the Pope confided that at the beginning of his pontificate he had written a letter of renunciation “in case of impediment for health reasons.”

In this interview with Swiss TV, Pope Francis mentioned for the first time that he often seeks advice from “people who know” him and “certain intelligent cardinals,” on the question of resigning.

“On this I always ask and follow advice. How are things going? It seems to you that I have to…,'” he explains. “And they tell me the truth: Continue, it’s ok,” says the Pope, who seems to hope that his loved ones would warn him in time if resigning were the best option. 

When asked about life after death, the 86-year-old Pontiff admitted that he cannot imagine it. “I don’t know what it will be. I only ask Our Lady to stand by me.”

The puzzle of Benedict XVI’s funeral

In this interview, the Pope speaks of when he saw Benedict XVI – who died on December 31 – around Christmas time. “He could hardly speak. He spoke very softly, very softly. They needed to translate his words,” he said, assuring that his predecessor was nevertheless lucid.

“He was asking questions: ‘How is this? What about that problem there? He was up to date on everything,” Francis said. The Pope spoke again of how he liked talking with Benedict XVI and asking for advice and he praised his predecessors’ wisdom. “The last time, though, you could see he was at the end,” the Pontiff acknowledged. 

Asked about the sobriety of the German Pontiff’s funeral – criticized by some in Rome – Pope Francis confided that the ceremonialists “went through a lot of trouble” to prepare it and mark a difference with the funeral of a reigning pope.

“Now I said to study the ceremony for the funerals of future popes, of all popes,” he indicated. ” They are studying and also simplifying things a bit, taking out the things that liturgically don’t fit,” the Pope announced.

The excerpts of the interview published so far did not give any more details on this issue. 

Pope Benedict XVIPope FrancisVatican
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