Wednesday, 20 August 2014
I have two or three years to live – Pope Francis
hard to stomach: Pope Francis says he has only two or three
years to live.
Although the Argentina-born Pontiff was silent on why he
thinks he would not live for more than three years, he hinted
that he had ‘some nerve problems’ which require treatment.
He spoke with journalists aboard his jet as he returned from a
trip to South Korea.
Francis, according to the Mailonline on Tuesday, also
mentioned the possibility of retiring from the Papacy if his
health failed to cope with the rigours of his office.
His predecessor, Benedict XVI, stepped down last year, in an
unprecedented move that opened the way for Francis to
become the Pope.
“I see it as the generosity of the people of God. I try to think of
my sins, my mistakes, not to become proud. Because I know it
will last only a short time,” the pope said.
Then, apparently light-heartedly, he added, “Two or three years
and then I’ll be off to the Father’s house.”
A Vatican source, said the Mailonline had claimed that the
Pope had previously told those close to him that he thought he
only had a few years to live.
Although Francis is 77, he has been the most vigorous Pope in
years, his energy proving the key to his popularity.
His frank admission may lead commentators to speculate as to
whether he has any undisclosed health problems.
At the time of his elevation to the Papacy, reports emerged that
Francis had a lung removed when he was a teenager in
Argentina after suffering an infection.
The Mailonline quoted Dr. William Schaffner, chairman of
preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Centre in
Nashville, Tennessee in United States, to have said, “So
whatever they did got him over that precarious period. As
people age, they generally become more susceptible to lung
infections, such as pneumonia and bronchitis.”
The risk of lung infections increases if those affected have pre-
existing conditions such as a weakened immune system or
But Francis joked about the nervous problems, saying, “I must
treat them well, these nerves, give them mate (an Argentine
stimulant tea) every day.”
“One of these neuroses, is that I’m too much of a homebody,”
he added and recalled that the last time he had taken a holiday
outside of Argentina was with the Jesuit community in 1975.
Resigning the papacy, as his predecessor Benedict XVI did last
year, was also a possibility “even if it does not appeal to some
theologians”, Francis told the journalists.
He added that 60 years ago, it was practically unheard of for
Catholic bishops to retire, but nowadays it was common.
As the jet travelled through the airspace, Francis also
addressed the issues surrounding the Catholic Church in China,
a country which refuses to allow Catholics to officially
recognise the spiritual leadership of the Vatican.
Since the communist revolution, Catholicism, like all religions,
has been permitted to operate only under the supervision of the
State Administration for Religious Affairs.
Clerics who resisted this had been subjected to oppression,
including long imprisonment torture and even martyrdom.
Pope Francis told the journalists he wanted dialogue with
China and the only thing he asked in return was for the Catholic
Church to be able to operate freely.