Vatican: Pope Francis has already signed a letter of “resignation” in the event of failing health

He will not cling to his post at any cost. Pope Francis revealed, in an interview published on Sunday, November 18, that he had signed a letter of resignation nearly ten years ago in the event that health problems prevented him from fulfilling his duties. The sovereign pontiff, who celebrated his 86th candle on Saturday, suffers from an inoperable knee condition which has forced him to use a wheelchair for the past few months.

In a statement to the Spanish daily ABC (in Spanish)the pope explained that he had already signed a letter of resignation that he had given to the Vatican Secretary of State, Monsignor Tarcisio Bertone, before the latter retired in 2013. “I signed the resignation and told him: in case of medical or other impediment, here is my resignation. You have it’declared the sovereign pontiff.

Last July, in another interview, Pope Francis admitted that he had to slow down his activities because of his failing health. He has in particular had to reduce his trips several times and even canceled some during the past year, due to the pain. “I think that at my age and with this constraint, I have to save myself a little to be able to serve the Church. Or, on the contrary, think about the possibility of retiring”, he said. Francis’ predecessor, Benedict XVI, resigned in 2013 due to failing health. Aged 95, he still lives in the Vatican.

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