Pope Francis said in an interview published on Friday he believes his pontificate will be short and that he would be ready to resign like his predecessor rather than ruling for life.
In the long interview with Mexican broadcaster Televisa, released on the second anniversary of his surprise election, Francis also said he “did not mind” being pope but would like to be able to go out in Rome unrecognized for a pizza.
“I have the feeling that my pontificate will be brief – four or five years, even two or three. Two have already passed. It’s a somewhat strange sensation,” he said, according to a Vatican translation from Spanish.
“I feel that the Lord has placed me here for a short time,” the Argentine-born pontiff said.
Francis, apparently in good health at 78, said “I share the idea of what Benedict did.” In 2013, former Pope Benedict became the first head of the Roman Catholic Church in 600 years to resign instead of ruling until he died.
“In general, I think what Benedict so courageously did was to open the door to the popes emeritus. Benedict should not be considered an exception, but an institution,” Francis said.
However, he said he did not like the idea of an automatic retirement age for popes, such as at age 80.
“Look, life is in God’s hands. I told the Lord: ‘you are taking care of me. But if your will is that I die or that they do something to me, I ask you only one favor: that it doesn’t hurt. Because I’m a big coward when it comes to physical pain,’” the Pope told La Carcova News in an interview published in this month’s edition of their paper.
I pray that if his papacy becomes a short one, it’s because he chose to make it so.
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