Pope Francis has rejected rumors that he is considering resigning from his position and becoming Pope Emeritus, after a 10-day hospital stay following colon surgery that, the papal leader claims, has “saved” his life.
The denial from the pontiff was made in a radio interview broadcast on Spanish network COPE on Wednesday, with the head of the Catholic Church firmly stating that resignation “didn’t even cross my mind” after his recent hospital visit.
“Whenever a pope is ill there is always a breeze or a hurricane about a conclave,” Pope Francis said, brushing off any idea he was planning to resign after his recent bout of ill health.
The 84-year-old underwent surgery in July at Rome’s Gemelli hospital to remove half of his colon, after he suffered from a severe narrowing of his large intestine. Following the successful three-hour procedure, the pope remained in hospital for a further 10 days before leaving and declaring that doctors had “saved my life.”
This was the first major operation that Pope Francis has had since ascending to the papacy in 2013. However, when he was younger, he had one lung removed after he contracted an infection and suffered a severe bout of pneumonia.
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The rumor had been published in August by Italian newspaper Libero, which suggested there was “a conclave in the air” at the Vatican, implying cardinals were meeting to choose a new pope, which occurs only if the papal leader dies or resigns. The media outlet floated that Pope Francis had spoken to figures within the church about resigning around his 85th birthday, this December.
Pope Francis is set to visit a number of countries in the coming months, including Hungary and Slovakia on September 12-15, and the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow in November. He confirmed he is also planning upcoming trips to Cyprus, Greece and Malta, although he didn’t specify when he was hoping to visit those nations.
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