Pope Francis Says He Could Retire Over Health Issues

Pope Francis has said he is considering retiring as head of the Catholic Church, citing health problems and age limitations.

After his six-day trip to Canada, the pontiff said strained ligaments in his knee prevented him from traveling as he used to.
Francis, 85, used a wheelchair, walker and cane to get around during his trip, as he had injured ligaments in his right knee earlier this year.
The pope said his trip to Canada had been difficult, as he was clearly in pain as he maneuvered himself up and down from his chair.
“I think at my age and with these limitations, I have to save [my energy] to be able to serve the church, or on the contrary, think about the possibility of stepping aside,” Francis said, explaining that he saw his week-long trip to Canada as “sort of a test.”
Speaking to reporters on his way back to Rome from northern Nunavut, the pontiff clarified that he had not thought of resigning but “the door was open.” He insisted that there was nothing wrong with a pope resigning his post.
“It is not a catastrophe to change the Pope, it is not a taboo,” he said. “The door [to retiring] is open – it is a normal option. But until today I have not knocked on that door.”
“I have not felt the need to think about this possibility – that is not to say that in two days’ time I might not start thinking about it.”
However, it was not the first time that Pope Francis has said he could follow in the footsteps of his predecessor Benedict XVI if his health requires it.
In 2013, then-Pope Benedict made history by becoming the first pope to resign due to deteriorating physical and mental health.
The pope ruled out undergoing knee surgery, saying he would try to continue making trips to stay close to people because he believes it is a form of service. “But more than this, I cannot say,” he stated.
Francis’ comments came after he offered a historic apology to Canadian indigenous residential school survivors over the Roman Catholic Church’s role in abuses of native communities.