Pope Francis, in new book, says he has not considered resigning

22 Mar 2024

By Contributor

By Cindy Wooden , Catholic News Service

This is the cover of the U.S. edition of “Life: My Story Through History,” written by Pope Francis with Italian journalist Fabio Marchese Ragona. The book is scheduled for a global release by HarperCollins March 19, 2024. Photo: CNS/courtesy HarperCollins.

A pope’s ministry is meant to last his lifetime, Pope Francis said, and, at least until now, he has not considered resigning.

However, he wrote in a new book, if he were seriously impaired, he would resign, but unlike the late Pope Benedict XVI, he would use the title “bishop of Rome emeritus” rather than pope emeritus and he would live at Rome’s Basilica of St Mary Major “to serve as a confessor and give Communion to the sick” rather than live at the Vatican.

Pope Francis’ reflections on his life and his future are included in a new book, Life: My Story Through History, written with Italian journalist Fabio Marchese Ragona.

The book was scheduled for a global release by HarperCollins on 19 March, but the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera published excerpts March 14.

The excerpts included Pope Francis saying he knows critics complain about his leadership and how he has changed the papacy, but “if I looked into everything that was said and written about me, I wouldn’t have time to do anything else and I would need a weekly session with a psychologist!”

Corriere della Sera used as a headline, “There are those in the Vatican who hoped I would die,” in quotation marks, although those words do not appear in the text.

He did say, however, that when he was hospitalized, he had a lot of time for prayer and reflection, but “others were more interested in politics, in campaigning for votes, almost considering a new conclave.”

Such speculation and maneuvering should not unsettle people, he told Ragona. “Relax, it’s human, there’s nothing shocking about it,” he said. “When the pope is in the hospital, there are many things to think about, and some people will speculate for their own purposes or to earn some money from the press.”

“Fortunately, I have never thought of resigning, despite moments of difficulty,” he added.

“Some people may have hoped that sooner or later, perhaps after a stay in the hospital, I might make an announcement of that kind, but there is no risk of it: thanks be to God, I enjoy good health, and as I have said, there are many projects to bring to fruition, God willing,” Pope Francis said.