In another candid press briefing while on board a plane returning to Rome, this time from the Middle East, Pope Francis reportedly said he would not rule out retiring like his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.
“I will do what the Lord tells me to do. Pray and try to follow God’s will,” Pope Francis said, according to La Stampa’s Vatican Insider. “Benedict XVI no longer had the strength and honestly, as a man of faith, humble as he is, he took this decision.”
“Seventy years ago, Popes Emeritus didn’t exist. What will happen with Popes Emeritus? We need to look at Benedict XVI as an institution, he opened a door, that of the Popes Emeritus,” Francis continued. “The door is open, whether there will be others, only God knows. I believe that if a bishop of Rome feels he is losing his strength, he must ask himself the same questions Pope Benedict XVI did.”