In an interview with The Associated Press, the Pope confirmed that if he resigns, he would like to be called Bishop Emeritus of Rome. He also said that, at the time, he, like any other retired priest, would prefer to live in a diocesan residence for elderly priests.
Francis said it was important for him to underline the concept that the pope is a bishop in dialogue with everyone else, rather than a “power player”.
At the same time, he stressed that he does not think about resigning in the short term and that he is in good health, although he said that the intestinal problems that forced him to operate in 2021 are coming back.
The Pontiff also revealed a fact: that he suffered a fall that broke his bone. He said it was rectified without the need for surgery thanks to the treatment done with lasers and magnets.
Perhaps this was the reason for the lameness that had been with him for over a year.
With his usual sense of humour, he added that “he could be dead tomorrow”, as he is 86, but that everything is “under control” at the moment.
He also spoke of criticism that the Cardinal or the staff of the Curia have recently and publicly directed against him. He said they are obnoxious, but at least it is a sign that there is freedom of speech.
One of the criticisms came from Benedict XVI’s former secretary, who relayed some of the Pope Emeritus’ negative reactions to the measures taken by Francis. These are responses that Benedict XVI has never made public and that may fuel Francis’ rejection by some areas of the church.
One of the events that has had the most impact on the Vatican in recent weeks was the revelation that Cardinal George Pell was the author of a document highly critical of Francis’ papacy. The document circulated for a long time under a pseudonym and listed a series of problems that should be solved in the future by the next pope.
Francis’ papacy was defined as a “disaster” and a “catastrophe”. However, this disclosure of the document’s authorship was made after Cardinal Pell’s death, so there is no way to verify it. Nevertheless, the Pope insisted on praising the Australian cardinal for his work on Vatican finances.