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Pope Francis may ‘step aside’ and retire, but only if it’s God’s will

Pope Francis says he may ‘step aside’ and retire, but only if it’s God’s will.

Pope recalls visit to Canada at Angelus . Pope Francis thanks all those who made his visit to Canada possible, and says that while there, his thoughts were also with the people of Ukraine.

Speaking to journalists on a return flight from Canada, Pope Francis said he should slow down on his international travel and possibly consider retiring, but only if he discerns that it’s God’s will.

“I think that at my age and with this limitation, I have to save myself a little bit to be able to serve the Church. Or, alternatively, to think about the possibility of stepping aside,” Francis told journalists during an in-flight press conference on his return flight from Iqaluit, Canada, on Saturday, AFP reported.

“The Lord will say” when it is time to retire, the 85-year-old pope added, according to Catholic News Agency. “The door is open. It’s one of the normal options, but up to today I haven’t knocked on that door.”

He clarified that he wasn’t actively thinking of retiring and that he was just open to it. “But maybe that doesn’t mean the day after tomorrow I will start thinking.”

As a Jesuit, the pope said he will rely on “discernment.”

Speaking on Sunday after the recitation of the Marian prayer, the Pope thanked all those who had made his penitential pilgrimage possible, including civil authorities, heads of the indigenous peoples and the Canadian Bishops. He also thanked everyone who had accompanied him with their prayers, and said he would speak at length about his visit during Wednesday’s General Audience.

Prayers for the people of Ukraine

Despite being in Canada, Pope Francis noted that even during the trip, he never stopped praying for the Ukrainian people, “attacked and tormented, asking God to deliver them from the scourge of war.”

The Pope went on to say that “if one looked at reality objectively, considering the damage that each day of war brings to that population but also to the entire world, the only reasonable thing to do would be to stop and negotiate. May wisdom inspire concrete steps of peace,” he said.

On this, the feast of St Ignatius of Loyola, which also marks the conclusion of the Ignatian year, Pope Francis extended an affectionate greeting to his “Jesuit brothers,” inviting them to continue to walk with zeal, with joy in the service of the Lord.

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