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Pope says he will slow down or retire: ‘You can change the Pope’

Pope says he will slow down or retire: ‘You can change the Pope’

On the papal plane (AP) – Pope Francis admitted Saturday he can no longer travel as he used to because of his strained knee ligaments, saying the week-long Canadian pilgrimage It was a “little test” that showed he needed to slow down and maybe retire one day.

Speaking to reporters while returning home from north Nunavut, the 85-year-old Francis confirmed he had not considered resigning but said “the door is open” and there is nothing wrong with the Pope stepping down..

“Not strange. It’s not a disaster,” he said while sitting in a wheelchair on the plane during a 45-minute press conference.

Francis said that while he hasn’t considered quitting yet, he knows he has to at least slow down.

“I think at my age and with these limitations,” he said, “I should spare (my energy) to be able to serve the Church, or, on the contrary, think about the possibility of stepping aside.”

Francis was full of questions about the future of his pontificate after the first trip in which he used a wheelchair, walker, and cane to get around, severely limiting his program and his ability to mingle with crowds.

He strained the ligaments in his right knee earlier this year, and continued laser and magnetic therapy forced him to cancel a trip to Africa scheduled for the first week of July.

The Canada trip was tough, and for several moments it was clear that Francis was in pain as he maneuvered up and down the chairs.

At the end of his six-day tour, he appeared in good spirits and spirited, despite traveling to the edge of the North Pole all day. On Friday to apologize once again to the indigenous peoples for the injustices they suffered in the church-run church boarding schools.

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Francis has ruled out surgery on his knee, saying it wouldn’t necessarily help, noting that “there are still traces” of him undergoing more than six hours of sedation in July 2021 to remove 33 centimeters (13 inches) from his large intestine.

“I will try to continue on trips and be close to people because I think it’s a way to serve, to be close. More than that, I can’t say,” he said on Saturday.

In other comments on the papal plane, Francis said:

He agreed that trying to eradicate aboriginal culture in Canada through the church-run boarding school system amounted to cultural “genocide.” Francis said he did not use the term during his trip to Canada because it hadn’t occurred to him. The Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission decided in 2015 that the forced removal of Indigenous children from their homes and their placement in church-run boarding schools to accommodate them in Christianity and Canada constituted a “cultural genocide”.

“It’s true I didn’t use the word because it didn’t cross my mind, but it called genocide, right?” Francis said. “I apologized, and asked forgiveness for this act, which was genocide.”

– He suggested that he did not oppose the development of the Catholic doctrine on the use of contraceptives. Church teachings prohibit artificial contraceptives. Francis noted that a Vatican think tank recently published the proceedings of a conference where a “no” amendment to the church’s absolute was discussed. He emphasized that doctrine could evolve over time and that the task of theologians was to follow such developments, with the pope ultimately deciding.

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Francis noted that the Church’s teachings on atomic weapons were modified during his pontificate to consider not only the use of atomic weapons but the mere possession of atomic weapons immoral and the death penalty immoral in all cases.

– He confirmed that he hopes to travel to Kazakhstan in mid-September to attend an interfaith conference where he may meet with the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, who justified the war in Ukraine. Francis also said he wanted to go to Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, although no flight has yet been confirmed. He said he hoped to reschedule his trip to South Sudan, which he canceled due to knee problems. He said the Congo leg of that trip might have to be postponed until next year due to the rainy season.


The Associated Press’s religious coverage is supported by an Associated Press collaboration with The Conversation US, funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. The AP is solely responsible for this content.