Pope Was Wrote a Resignation Note in Case of a Health Impediment

Francis has said he gave the note to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who then was the Vatican secretary of state. The pontiff added that he presumes that the prelate currently in that Vatican No. 2 role, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, now has the written instruction.

on Saturday, He turned 86 Lately, he has increasingly used a cane instead of a wheelchair to get around in public. Had surgery in 2021 to repair a bowel narrowing and has been hobbled by knee pain that for months saw him use a wheelchair.

in an interview, he revealed published Sunday that shortly after being elected pontiff in 2013 he wrote a resignation letter in case medical problems impede him from carrying out his duties.

In past remarks, Francis has hailed the decision of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, to resign because he felt due to advancing age he wouldn’t be best able to carry out his duties. Benedict, who is living in a monastery on the Vatican’s grounds, was the first pontiff to resign in 600 years, and his stepping down paved the way for Francis’ election as the first pope from South America.

The pontiff quipped that now that he has revealed the existence of his resignation note, “someone will run up to Bertone (saying), ‘Give me that piece of paper.’”

Asked what happens if health issues or an accident suddenly leaves a pope unable to do his job and whether there should be a rule for such instances, Francis replied, “In practice, there is already a rule.”

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