(BBC) Pope Francis has stated that he may need to think about resigning at some point soon and that he would do so if he thought that his health prevented him from carrying out his duties as pope.
He made the remarks at the conclusion of a tour that required significant travel and long days and during which he apologized to indigenous people in Canada.
The 85-year-old pontiff emphasized that for the time being, he intends to continue in his responsibilities and that he will be led by God as to when, if at all, he will stand down.
“It is not a catastrophe to change Pope, it is not a taboo,” he told journalists from a wheelchair on the plane from Canada’s Arctic territory to Rome.
“The door [to retiring] is open – it is a normal option. But until today I have not knocked on that door. I have not felt the need to think about this possibility – that is not to say that in two days’ time I might not start thinking about it.”
Pope Francis has experienced ongoing knee pain in recent months, which has limited his mobility. He used a wheelchair for the majority of his time in Canada.
However, he has in the past denied rumors of more severe, fatal ailments.