Pope Francis denies, dismisses rumors that he plans to resign soon over worsening health issues

There have been rumors and speculation in recent weeks and months that Pope Francis intends to resign soon as the head of the Catholic Church due to health problems.

In a recent interview, however, Pope Francis denied the validity of such rumors of his impending resignation and insisted that, at least “for the moment,” he had no plans to step down from his position at the Vatican, the Washington Examiner reported.

That said, the pope did acknowledge the impact his health issues have had on him and suggested that he would consider resigning if those health problems worsened to a point where he could no longer fulfill his papal duties.

Health issues could eventually prompt resignation, but not right now

In an exclusive interview with Reuters over the weekend, 85-year-old Pope Francis dismissed the claims that he would soon resign and even laughed off allegations that he has been dealing with cancer.

The rumors about cancer stemmed from a successful operation he underwent last year to have part of his colon removed, but the pope shared that the operation had been necessary to treat diverticulitis, a common malady for the elderly, and not colon cancer.

As for his current health issues, his mobility has been severely curtailed by a “small fracture” in his knee that is continuing to heal as well as a problem with inflammation, which prompted him to have to cancel planned visits to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan this month.

Pope Francis insisted that he was recovering well, albeit slowly, and still planned to visit Canada later in July, as well as possibly the capitals of Russia and Ukraine to help spur along potential peace talks.

Speculation fueled by a confluence of “coincidences”

The health issues were but one factor of the growing rumors about the possible resignation of Pope Francis, Reuters reported, with other factors including a handful of events scheduled for August, such as meeting with top cardinals to discuss a new Vatican Constitution, and induction ceremony for new cardinals, and a visit to L’Aquila, an Italian city historically associated with the incredibly rare papal resignations.

“All of these coincidences made some think that the same ‘liturgy’ would happen,” the pope said. “But it never entered my mind. For the moment no, for the moment, no. Really!”

He did mention that he might resign if his health conditions grew worse, but when asked when that might be, Pope Francis replied, “We don’t know. God will say.”

Rumors of past few months belied by future schedule for pope

According to a NewsNation report in June, the resignation rumors really began to swirl in May upon the announcement of the events scheduled for August, in conjunction with the aforementioned health issues, including his colon operation, his knee problems, and the painful inflammation in his hips and joints from sciatica, which caused him to miss certain important events earlier in the year, such as Ash Wednesday in March.

The outlet seemed to downplay the likelihood of the speculation on resignation at that time, though, by pointing to the fact that the pope had already scheduled certain events well into 2023, suggesting he had no plans to step down any time in the near future.

Latest News