In 2014, a year after his papacy, Francis told reporters that if his health got in the way of his position as pope, he would consider stepping down.
In May, as reported in the Italian media, Francis joked about his knee during a closed-door meeting with bishops, saying: “Instead of operating, I will resign.”
“The door is open, it is one of the normal options, but so far I have not knocked on this door,” he said on Saturday.
“But that doesn’t mean I won’t start thinking the day after tomorrow, right? But honestly not right now.
“Also this trip was kind of the test. It’s true that you can’t travel in this state, you might have to change the style a little bit, cut down, pay off the debts of the trips you still have to take, rearrange.
“But the Lord will tell. The door is open, that’s true.’
The comments come after intense speculation about Francis’ future, after he had to cancel a series of events due to his knee pain, including a trip to Africa planned earlier this month.
Talks were also sparked by his decision to convene an extraordinary consistory for August 27, a slow summer month in the Vatican, to create 21 new cardinals – 16 of whom will be under 80 years of age and therefore eligible to serve. to choose his successor in a future. conclave.
Benedict’s decision to quit sent shockwaves through the Catholic Church. He was the first pope to step down since the Middle Ages, but now the precedent has been set.
“In all honesty, it’s not a disaster, it’s possible to change popes, it’s possible to change, no problem! But I think I have to limit myself a bit with these efforts,” Francis said on Saturday.
He mostly used a wheelchair during his trip to Canada, where he historically apologized for decades of abuse of Indigenous children in residential schools run by the Catholic Church.
But he did get up in his “Pope mobile” to greet crowds.