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Pope Francis Plans to Remain Pope ‘For As Long As God Allows It,’ Bishops Say

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Pope Francis is helped walking as he celebrates the canonization Mass for 10 new saints in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, May 15, 2022. Francis rallied from knee pain that has forced him to use a wheelchair to preside over the first canonization ceremony at the Vatican in over two years. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

VATICAN CITY (RNS) — While concerns regarding Pope Francis’ health have fueled rumors he might soon resign, Brazilian bishops told Vatican media outlets on Monday (June 20) that the pope intends to continue in his role as head of the Catholic Church “for as long as God allows it.”

Archbishop Roque Paloschi of Porto Velho said the pope reassured him during a visit at the Vatican on Monday that despite the many challenges the pope faces, resigning “does not cross his mind,” according to an article published by Vatican News.

Seventeen bishops from Brazil will meet with the pope this month for traditional “ad limina” visits, obligatory consultations that bishops from around the world make on a rotating five-year schedule.

“I want to live my mission as long as God allows me and that’s it,” Francis said when asked about his health by the bishops, according to Roque.

In the same Vatican article, Monsignor Lúcio Nicoletto, the administrator of Brazil’s Diocese of Roraima, said he was impressed by the “great strength” displayed by the aging pontiff, who during the meeting reinforced his commitment to protecting the Amazon rainforest and the Indigenous people who inhabit it.

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In early June, Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, one of the pope’s cardinal advisers, said the resignation rumors amounted to nothing more than “fake news” and compared media reports on the subject to “a cheap soap opera.”

Pope Francis greets the faithful as he leaves St. Mary Major Basilica after participating in a rosary prayer for peace, in Rome, May 31, 2022. Pope Francis canceled a planned July trip to Africa on doctors’ orders because of ongoing knee problems, the Vatican said June 10, 2022, raising further questions about the health and mobility problems of the 85-year-old pontiff. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
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Claire Giangravé is an author at Religion News Service.