Pope Francis denies speculation he will step down

Pope Francis answers questions from journalists aboard his flight from Athens, Greece, to Rome Dec. 6, 2021. The pope was concluding a five-day visit to Cyprus and Greece. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis has dismissed speculation that he plans to follow the example of his predecessor, Benedict, by retiring.

The Pope – who is 86 and often uses a wheelchair – said he believed that the job was for life. He added that historical tradition was important, and stepping down was not on his agenda.

The remarks were made during a meeting earlier this month in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but have only just been made public.

The death of Benedict at the end of last year had led some observers to suggest that Pope Francis might now consider stepping down due to ill-health


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