Pope Francis said in an interview Friday he will ask God’s advice when the time comes to consider retiring like his 87-year-old predecessor Benedict XVI.
Benedict last year became the first pope to resign since the Middle Ages, retiring from public life to live in a former monastery inside the Vatican City walls.
“Since we live longer, we get to an age at which we can no longer carry on with things,” the 77-year-old Francis said in a wide-ranging interview with the Vatican correspondent of Barcelona-based daily La Vanguardia.
The pontiff said Benedict made a “great gesture” when he left his position as leader of the Church, opening the door to the possibility of emeritus popes.
“I will do the same as he did: ask the Lord to show me when the moment comes and tell me what to do, and he will tell me for sure,” said the spiritual leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.
The pope alluded to his mortality when admitting that he took a risk when he avoided riding in the closed-in “popemobile”.
“I cannot greet the people and tell them I love them inside a sardine can, even if it is glass,” he said, describing the protection as a “wall”.
“It is true something could happen to me but let’s be realistic, at my age I do not have much to lose,” the pope said.
Following his first visit to the Middle East as pope last month, the pontiff criticised fundamentalism in Christianity, Islam and Judaism as a form of violence.
“A fundamentalist group, even if it kills no one, even it strikes no one, is violent. The mental structure of fundamentalism is violence in the name of God.”
Asked about religious violence in the Middle East, Francis, who made his first visit to the region as pope last month, said it was a “contradiction”.
“Violence in God’s name does not fit with our times. It is something old. With historical perspective, we have to say that we Christians, at times, have practiced it,” he was quoted as saying.
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