(PresidentialWire.com)- Pope Francis said his weeklong Canadian journey was “a bit of a test” that proved he needs to slow down and maybe retire.
Francis told reporters returning from Nunavut that he hadn’t considered quitting but that “the door is open” and there’s nothing wrong with a pope stepping away.
Francis hasn’t contemplated resigning, but he knows he must slow down.
He stated that at his age and with these constraints, he must save energy to serve the church or step away.
Francis was asked about the future of his pontificate after his first journey using a wheelchair, walker, and cane, which limited his program and crowd-mingling capacity.
He injured his right knee ligaments earlier this year, forcing him to miss a July vacation to Africa. Francis was in agony while getting up from his seat during the Canada vacation.
Despite a challenging day flying to the Arctic on Friday, Francis was in high spirits and energized at the close of his six-day visit to apologize to Indigenous peoples for the abuses they endured in Canada’s church-run residential schools.
Francis ruled out knee surgery, saying it wouldn’t help and that “traces” of his July 2021 operation to remove 13 inches of his large intestine remain.
The Pope shared many thoughts on his trip. Among them were:
— He wasn’t against a Catholic theology on contraception. The church forbids contraception. Francis highlighted that a Vatican research tank recently released the congress’s actions, which addressed modifying the church’s “no.” He said theology might change over time and that theologians should explore such changes, with the pope deciding.
— Francis highlighted that church doctrine on atomic weapons was updated under his papacy to deem not just the use but the mere possession sinful and the death sentence wrong in all situations.
— He confirmed he wanted to fly to Kazakhstan in mid-September for an ecumenical conference where he may meet Patriarch Kirill, who has justified the Ukraine war. Francis intends to visit Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, but no trip is guaranteed. He canceled his journey to South Sudan due to knee difficulties. Because of the wet season, he said the Congo section of the journey will be delayed until next year.