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Pope Francis reveals he signed resignation letter in case of health impediment

Pope Francis
Posted at 1:53 PM, Dec 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-19 14:54:22-05

Pope Francis made a surprise revelation during a recent interview with a Spanish news outlet that he has a signed resignation letter on standby in case he's unable to perform his duties.

In an interview with the Spanish newspaper ABC, which published the report Sunday, Francis said he gave the letter, which was written in 2013, to then Vatican secretary of state Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Associated Press reported.

Francis, who turned 86 on Saturday, commented after he was asked what the protocols were if a pope is suddenly unable to do their job because of an accident or a health-related issue, the news outlet reported.

“I signed it and said: ‘If I should become impaired for medical reasons or whatever, here is my resignation. Here you have it,‘” he was quoted as saying, per the Associated Press.

Francis added that the letter is now possibly in the possession of the current secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the news outlet reported.

The AP reported that Francis has had some health issues, having undergone surgery last year to repair a bowel narrowing and has been using a wheelchair as of late due to knee pain.

But when asked if he has any challenges with mobility, he said, “One governs with the head, not the knee," according to the news outlet.