The Pope Francis dismissed reports suggesting he plans to resign in the near futurestating that he is on his way to visit Canada this month and that he hopes to be able to go to Moscow Y Kyiv as soon as possible after.
In an exclusive interview at his Vatican residence, Francisco also denied rumors that he had cancerjoking that his doctors They didn’t tell me anything about it.“, Y for the first time he gave details of the knee condition that has prevented him from performing some functions.
In a 90-minute conversation on Saturday afternoon, conducted in Italian and without the presence of collaborators, the 85-year-old pontiff also repeated his condemnation of abortion after the Supreme Court ruling from the United States last month.
The media have rumored that a conjunction of events at the end of Augustincluding meetings with the world’s cardinals to discuss a new Vatican constitution, a ceremony to induct new cardinals and a visit to the Italian city of L’Aquila, could herald a resignation announcement.
L’Aquila is associated with Pope Celestine Vwho resigned the papacy in 1294. Pope Benedict XVI visited the city four years before resigning in 2013, the first pope to do so in some 600 years.
But Franciscoattentive and relaxed throughout the interview while speaking on a wide range of Church and international issues, he laughed at the idea.
“All these coincidences made some think that the same ‘liturgy’ would occur”, said. “But it never crossed my mind. At the moment, no, at the moment, no. Really”.
However, Francis repeated his position, so often stated, that might one day resign if his failing health made it impossible for him to lead the Churchsomething almost unthinkable before Benedict XVI.
When asked when he thought it might happen, he said: “We do not know. God will tell.”
The interview took place the day he was to leave for the Democratic Republic of Congo Y South Sudana trip he had to cancel because doctors said he might have to miss a trip to Canada from July 24-30, too, unless he agreed to do 20 more days of therapy and rest for his right knee.
He said that the decision to cancel the trip to Africa had caused “a lot of suffering”mainly because he wanted to promote peace in both countries.
Francis used a cane as he entered a reception room on the ground floor of the Santa Marta guesthouse. where he has lived since his election in 2013, avoiding the papal apartment in the Apostolic Palace used by his predecessors.
The room has a copy of one of Francisco’s favorite paintings: “Maria, undoer of knots”, created around 1700 by the German Joachim Schmidtner.
When I asked him how he was, the Pope joked: “I’m still alive!”
He gave details of his injury for the first time in publicsaying that he had suffered “a small fracture” in the knee when he took a wrong step while a ligament was inflamed.
“I’m fine, little by little I’m improvinghe said, adding that the fracture site was improving, helped by laser therapy and magnets.
Francisco also dismissed rumors that cancer had been detected a year agowhen he underwent a six-hour operation to remove part of his colon for diverticulitis, a common condition in older people.
“(The operation) was a great success”he said, adding between laughs that “They didn’t tell me anything” about the alleged cancerwhich he dismissed as “palace gossip.”
But he said that he did not want to have surgery on his knee because the general anesthesia from last year’s operation had had bad side effects.
PAPAL TRIP TO MOSCOW?
Speaking of the situation in Ukraine, Francis noted that there have been contacts between the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov.about a possible trip to Moscow.
The first signs are not good. No Pope has ever visited Moscow and Pope Francis has repeatedly condemned Russia‘s invasion of Ukraine.; last Thursday she implicitly accused her of waging a “cruel and senseless war of aggression.”
When the Vatican first inquired about a trip several months ago, Francis said Moscow responded that the time was not right.
But he hinted that something may have changed now.
“I would like to go (to Ukraine) and I wanted to go to Moscow first. We exchanged messages about it, because I thought that if the Russian president gave me a small window to serve the cause of peace…”
“And now it is possible, after I come back from Canada, it is possible that I will get to go to Ukraine,” he said. “The first thing is to go to Russia to try to help in some way, but I would like to go to both capitals.”
JUDGMENT ON ABORTION
Asked about the ruling of the Supreme Court of the United States that annuls the historic ruling Roe vs. Wade which establishes a woman’s right to have an abortion, Francisco said he respected the decision, but that he did not have enough information to discuss it from a legal point of view.
But strongly condemned abortion, comparing it to “hiring a hitman”. The Catholic Church teaches that life begins at the moment of conception.
“I askedOr: Is it legitimate, is it correct, to take a human life to solve a problem?
Francis was asked about a debate in the United States about whether a Catholic politician who personally opposes abortion but supports the right of others to choose should receive the sacrament of communion.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosifor example, is prohibited by the conservative archbishop of his home diocese of San Francisco from receiving it there, but he regularly receives communion at a Washington, DC parish. Last week, he received the sacrament at a papal mass at the Vatican.
“When the Church loses its pastoral nature, when a bishop loses his pastoral nature, it causes a political problem.”, said the Pope. “That’s all I can say”.
(By Philip Pullella, Reuters)
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