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Pope Francis has silenced any rumors of imminent resignation from the papacy.
In a meeting with over a dozen Catholic bishops visiting the Vatican from Brazil, Pope Francis discussed his health and plans for the future of his kingdom. The pope said on a visit to Archbishop Roque Paloschi that his resignation from the Holy See “does not cross his mind,” according to the Portuguese edition of the official Vatican news service.
However, the pope did not pretend to be of great health, telling the bishops that he was facing many challenges, but that he wished to live the life God gave him to the end.
This seemingly out-of-the-way private comment cancels weeks of speculation that Pope Francis was considering the end of his papacy.
POPE FRANCIS FORECAST THE ‘FRAGILITY’, THE ‘OLD AGE’ AMONG HEALTH CONCERNS
The rumors began after his appointment of new cardinals amid news of his health problems and the cancellation of multiple apostolic commitments. Pope Francis added fuel to the rumors announcing that he would visit the city of central Aquila in August for a party started by Pope Celestine V, one of the few popes who resigned before Pope Benedict XVI resigned in 2013.
However, the close pontifical councilor, Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, previously dismissed the rumors as a “cheap soap opera”.
Last July, the pope underwent colon surgery and was hospitalized for almost two weeks. After the operation, the pontiff regularly complained of knee pain and other side effects that make mobility and physical effort difficult.
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Pope Francis intervened in his general audience Wednesday on the effects of old age, the frailty of the elderly and the virtue of impotence.
The 85-year-old pope has repeatedly revisited the theme of old age and deterioration in recent years. His lectures and comments on the nature of aging – often optimistic in nature – have gained new potency as the pontiff struggles through a number of health issues as he continues his physically demanding work.
In his sermon, the pope told his listeners that old age was a time when Christians must learn to accept the help of others – even in the basic tasks of daily life. He compared the helplessness of old age to the serenity of giving up control of one’s life to God.