Pope Francis has said he is no longer able to travel as he used to because of his strained knee ligaments, saying the week-long Canadian pilgrimage was “a bit of a test” that showed he needed to slow down and perhaps retire one day.
Speaking to reporters while returning home from north Nunavut, Francis, 85, confirmed he had not considered resigning but said “the door is open” and there is nothing wrong with the Pope stepping down.
“Not strange. It’s not a disaster. You can change the pope,” he said.
“I think at my age and with these limitations, I should save up[my energy] To be able to serve the church, or, conversely, consider the possibility of stepping down. ”
It wasn’t the first time Francis said – if his health required it – he could follow his predecessor, Benedict XVI, who made history in 2013 by stepping down due to his declining physical and mental health.
Francis used a wheelchair, walker, and cane to navigate his journey.
He strained the ligaments in his right knee earlier this year, and continued laser and magnetic therapy forced him to cancel a trip to Africa scheduled for the first week of July.
The Canada The ride was rough, and it witnessed several moments that Francis was clearly in pain as he maneuvered up and down the chairs.
At the end of his six-day tour, he appeared in good spirits and energized, despite traveling a long day to the edge of the North Pole on Friday to apologize once again to the indigenous peoples for the injustices they had suffered in the church-run residential schools.
Francis has ruled out surgery on his knee, saying it wouldn’t necessarily help, noting that “there are still traces” of him undergoing more than six hours of sedation in July 2021 to remove 33 centimeters (13 inches) from his large intestine.
“I will try to continue on trips and be close to people because I think it’s a way to serve, to be close. More than that, I can’t say,” he said on Saturday.
During six days of the “Pilgrimage of Penance” across Canada this week, the Pope Make a historic apology To the First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples, who for years have been waiting for such recognition from the head of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics.
On the papal plane, he used the word “genocide” to describe decades of abuse and sexual abuse against Aboriginal children in Canada, who were snatched from their families and cultures to attend church-run public schools.
“I didn’t say a word [in Canada] Because it didn’t cross my mind, but I described genocide. She asked pardon for this act of genocide.
Although Francis’ unprecedented apology was welcomed across Canada, many survivors said much more needed to be done for reconciliation.
The trip to Canada was Francis’ 37th international trip since he became pope in 2013.