The 266th Pope of the Catholic Church celebrated his 86th birthday on Saturday. While the birthday of the Pope, whose real name is Jorge Mario Bergoglio, has been pouring in from all over the world, the information he released regarding his resignation letter has shocked and surprised everyone.
However, the Pope said that he gave the letter of resignation to avoid any embarrassment to the Church. He also told the Reuters news agency the background of this.
Pope Francis has announced that he has signed a letter of resignation, effective in the event of a sudden illness. The Pope said that he had given the letter of abdication so that he could use the letter in case the old man developed serious and permanent health problems and was unable to perform his duties.
In 2013, Pope Francis announced that he had signed his resignation letter even when he was elected as the 266th Pope of the Catholic Church.
Speaking to the Spanish newspaper ABC, Francis said he gave the note to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who then was the Vatican secretary of state. The pontiff added that he presumes that the prelate currently in that Vatican No. 2 role, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, now has the written instruction.
Francis, who turned 86 on Saturday, had surgery in 2021 to repair a bowel narrowing and has been hobbled by knee pain that for months saw him use a wheelchair. Lately, he has increasingly used a cane instead of the wheelchair to get around in public.
Asked what happens if health issues or an accident suddenly leaves a pope unable to do his job, and whether there should be a rule for such instances, Francis replied, “In practice there is already a rule.”
“I have already signed my renunciation,” Francis revealed, noting that he did so early in the papacy.
“I signed it and said: ‘If I should become impaired for medical reasons or whatever, here is my resignation. Here you have it,'” he said, referring to Cardinal Bertone, who stepped down as secretary of state in October 2013, in the first months of Francis’ papacy.
“I have already signed my resignation. I signed the letter of resignation when Darcisio Bertone was secretary, ‘Use my letter of resignation in case of medical reasons or any unforeseen reasons,’” Pope Francis said.
Pope Francis has long sought to establish an official protocol for arranging a replacement in cases where an accident or health problems could interfere with the pope’s work.
He has also often said he would resign as head of the 1.3 billion-member Roman Catholic Church if his health worsened.
Pope Francis also said he believed both Pope Paul VI (1963-1978) and Pope Pius XII (1939-1958), who died in office, signed similar letters of resignation.
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