Rome (CNN) — Pope Francis revealed in a new interview that he has already signed his resignation letter to be used in case he suffers a “disability.”
Francis made the comment in an interview with Spanish outlet ABC, published on Sunday, when asked what would happen if a pope is suddenly unable to fulfill his duties due to health problems or an accident.
Francis said he wrote the letter several years ago and gave it to the then Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who resigned in 2013.
“I have already signed my resignation. The Secretary of State at that time was Tarcisio Bertone. I signed it and said: ‘If I were disabled for medical reasons or whatever, here is my resignation,'” Francisco said.
“I don’t know who Cardinal Bertone gave that letter to, but I gave it to him when I was secretary of state,” Francis said, adding that this was the first time he had spoken publicly about the existence of the letter.
Francis said that previous popes Paul VI and Pius XII had also drawn up their letters of resignation in case of permanent disability.
Francisco, 86, appears to be in good health aside from knee problems. He has often been seen with a cane and sometimes uses a wheelchair due to pain in his right knee.
Earlier this year, he canceled a trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan after doctors said he could also miss a subsequent trip to Canada unless he agreed to receive 20 more days of therapy and rest for his right knee. .
Last year, he underwent surgery to remove part of his colon due to diverticulitis, a common condition.
In 2013, Francis’ immediate predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, made the almost unprecedented decision to resign his post, citing “old age” as the reason and shocking the Catholic world.
It was the first time a pope had resigned in nearly 600 years. The last pope to resign before his death was Gregory XII, who resigned in 1415 to end a civil war within the church in which more than one man claimed to be pope.