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Pope Francis in Juba, South Sudan, on February 4 (Vatican Media)

Pope Francis addressed once again the question of whether he will resign the papacy in two conversations with Jesuit priests in Africa this month. Source: CNA.

“I believe that the Pope’s ministry is ad vitam. I see no reason why it should not be so,” the Pope said February 2 during a private conversation with 82 Jesuits in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Francis met the group of priests at the apostolic nunciature in Kinshasa, where he was staying during his January 31-February 3 visit to the DRC.

The conversations were reported in the Jesuit-run journal, La Civiltà Cattolica.

The Pope, repeating information he had revealed in a prior interview, said that he signed a resignation letter two months after his election as Pope in case he should become incapacitated.

“However, this does not at all mean that resigning popes should become, let’s say, ‘the fashion,’ a normal thing. Benedict had the courage to do it because he did not feel like going on because of his health. I for the moment do not have that on my agenda,” he said.

“Think that the ministry of the great patriarchs is always for life,” he added. “And the historical tradition is important.”

Pope Francis also said that if the Church listened to the gossip, it should change popes every six months.

He again addressed the question of his possible resignation in a meeting with Jesuit priests on February 4 in Juba, South Sudan, telling the group that resignation “didn’t cross my mind”.


Pope Francis: ‘I believe that the pope’s ministry is for life’ (By Hannah Brockhaus, CNA)