Pope Francis, 85, weakened by severe knee pain that forced him to get around in a wheelchair, upon returning from his trip to Canada confided in him to slow down the pace of his travels, even mentioning the possibility of “putting aside.” “.
“I don’t think I can keep the pace of travel like before. I believe that at my age and with these limitations, I must take care of myself in order to be able to serve the Church, or on the contrary think about the possibility of putting myself on the back burner,” the Pope said during a press conference. on the plane that will take him back to the Vatican in the night from Friday to Saturday.
A test drive
During the six-day visit, his 37th trip abroad since his election in 2013, the pope mostly used a wheelchair and appeared weak, but nonetheless greeted the crowds aboard the “popemobile.”
“This trip was a bit of a test: it’s true that we can’t travel in this state, we might have to change the style a bit,” he admitted, while confiding that he “would try to travel further, conceded be close to people because it is a way of serving, of closeness”. “Honestly, it’s not a disaster. We can change popes. This is not a problem. But I think I have to limit myself a bit in this effort,” added the Pope.
Since the beginning of May, the Argentine Jesuit, weakened by pain in his right knee, has been moving around in a wheelchair or with a cane. To relieve his knee pain, he receives regular infiltrations and undergoes physiotherapy sessions, according to the Vatican, which maintains discretion regarding his health.
However, Jorge Bergoglio ruled out the possibility of surgery as he was confident he would have “results” from the anesthesia he suffered during his colon surgery in July 2021.
Francois’ health, who had part of a lung removed as a teenager and suffers from chronic sciatica, had fueled speculation during his colon surgery in July 2021.
On the subject of a possible waiver, the Pope repeated, like his predecessor Benedict XVI. on Saturday, the door was “open”. “But to date I have not pushed open that door. As they say, I didn’t feel like thinking about that possibility. But that doesn’t mean I won’t start thinking about it the day after tomorrow. »
In 2014, Francis himself had helped fuel the hypothesis of a possible resignation, believing that Benedict XVI. “opened a door” by resigning from office. But at the beginning of July he denied rumors that he could soon give up his protégé because of his health problems.
However, three events raise questions, including the holding of a consistory on August 27 to create some twenty new cardinals – including future electors in the event of a conclave, a very unusual time for this.
The Pope will gather cardinals from all over the world in Rome and travel to L’Aquila (Abruzzo), to the tomb of Celestine V, the first pope to resign in the 13th century. This unprecedented connection has caught the attention of the Italian and international press, some of which see it as an opportunity for the Pope to announce his decision to the world.
The Argentine pope, also without further details, renewed his desire to travel to Kyiv and confirmed plans for a trip to Kazakhstan in September to attend a summit of senior religious leaders.
He also hinted that he would travel South Sudan “before” going to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) if he were to visit the two countries in early July on the same trip, which has been indefinitely postponed due to his health condition.