Who will replace Pope Francis in the days to come?
Pope Francis spoke at length to journalists after returning from his trip to Canada. He does not close the door to a quick resignation in the coming days. However, the pope intends to “change style” and “do fewer trips” to preserve his health.
The Catholic Church in the world is going through difficult times.
In some countries, the Catholic Church does not exist; the population is forced to close the doors of certain Catholic churches because of crimes and sexual abuse committed on children, women and young girls, including adolescent victims of certain Catholic bishops and priests. The case of the Catholic Church in Haiti where Catholic priests and Catholic bishops are cassocked criminals.
Pope Francis said on Saturday that his advanced age and difficulty in walking were leading him into a new, slower phase of his pontificate and reiterated that he would be ready to step down one day if serious health problems prevent him from leading the Church.
"I don't think I can continue to travel at the same pace as before," he told reporters on the plane taking him back to Rome after a week-long trip to Canada.
"I have to preserve myself (...) or decide to withdraw"
Pope Francis, 85, has in recent months used a wheelchair, cane or walker due to knee pain from a fracture and an inflamed ligament. He walked with a cane to the aft cabin where journalists travel but sat in a wheelchair, for the first time in 37 international trips since he was elected pope in 2013, for the traditional conference of 45-minute post-trip press.
“I think at my age and with this limitation, I have to save myself a bit to be able to serve the Church, or decide to retire,” he said. The pace of the trip to Canada, centered on his apology for the Church's role in residential schools intended to assimilate Indigenous children, was slower than in the past, with typically only two events a day and long periods of rest. Francois said he preferred not to have knee surgery because he didn't want to re-experience the long-term negative side effects of anesthesia he suffered after bowel surgery a year ago.
"But I will try to keep traveling in order to be close to people, because it is a way of serving," he said. He said he would first go to the places he has already promised to go, such as South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lebanon and possibly Kazakhstan, before deciding on his future trips. .
The resignation of Pope Francis for health reasons, "the door is open" in the coming days but who will really replace Pope Francis in the days to come. We expect Pope Francis' letter of resignation in the coming days.