(PresidentialWire.com)- The pope cancelled his trip to two African countries this week, sending instead the Vatican secretary of state, once again generating rumors that he might be close to retiring his position, according to Breitbart News.
The announcement comes the heels of health issues the pope has been experiencing. He had already postponed the trip twice before definitively cancelling it entirely to send his secretary of state. A Vatican communiqué reads,
“Following the postponement of his Apostolic Journey to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and to South Sudan, His Holiness Pope Francis has decided to send the Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, to Kinshasa and Juba in order to show his closeness to the beloved peoples of the Congo and South Sudan.”
Breitbart reports that the 85-year-old pope has suffered a series of health issues, including sciatica, which is pain from the leg to lower back and surgery that removed portion of his colon last year. After acute knee pain, the pope regularly began using a wheelchair.
Despite the recent cancellation to Africa, the pope is still scheduled to visit Canada at the end of July, meeting with Indigenous Peoples of First Nations, Métis and Inuit in the city of Maskwacis.
Vatican Cardinal Kevin Farrell quelled any rumors of the pope’s resignation, calling it “wishful thinking” for his enemies. Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga echoed the same sentiment, calling it “fake news” and “a cheap soap opera,” adding that these rumors are coming from the United States where the pope faces “strong opposition.”
At the end of May, the pope reportedly appointed 21 new cardinals to be given the red hat at a consistory, most of whom are eligible to vote for the next pope. Contrary to his predecessors, Pope Francis has appointed “Francis Loyalists,” those who allegedly share his progressive vision.