Roman Catholic church leader, Pope Francis has dismissed reports that he plans to resign in the near future, saying he is on track to visit Canada this month and hopes to be able to go to Moscow and Kyiv as soon as possible after that.
In an exclusive interview in his Vatican residence, on Sunday July 3, Francis also denied rumours that he had cancer, joking that his “doctors didn’t tell me anything about it”, and for the first time gave details of the knee condition that has prevented him carrying out some duties.
In the 90-minute conversation conducted in Italian, with no aides present, the 85-year-old pontiff also repeated his condemnation of abortion following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling last month.
Rumours came out last month saying the pope was considering retiring and had cancer after he had meetings with the world’s cardinals to discuss a new Vatican constitution, held a ceremony to induct new cardinals, and has a visit to the Italian city of L’Aquila.
L’Aquila is associated with Pope Celestine V, who resigned the papacy in 1294. Pope Benedict XVI visited the city four years before he resigned in 2013, the first pope to do so in about 600 years.
But Francis laughed the idea off.
“All of these coincidences made some think that the same ‘liturgy’ would happen,” he said. “But it never entered my mind. For the moment no, for the moment, no. Really!”
Francis did, however, repeat his often stated position that he might resign someday if failing health made it impossible for him to run the Church.