Pope Francis fuels rumours he may quit in sermon reflecting on ‘the virtue of stepping aside at the right time’ and ‘learning to take our leave’
By JAMES REYNOLDS FOR MAILONLIN
- In the Sunday Angelus, Pope Francis spoke on leaving roles at the right moment
- Only his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, has renounced the position since 1415
- Speculation grows that Francis may resign amid rumours of internal pressures
In an address on Sunday, Pope Francis added to growing rumours he might abdicate from the position with a sermon on the ‘virtue of stepping aside at the right time’.
Pope Francis previously stated he would step down from the role if his health deteriorated but has dismissed general speculation, otherwise fuelled by apparent conflict within the church.
During the Sunday Angelus, a Catholic prayer the Pope often leads on Sundays and holy days, the Pontiff said: ‘It is easy to become attached to roles and positions, to the need to be esteemed, recognised and rewarded.’
He continued: ‘It is good for us too to cultivate, like [Saint] John [the Baptist], the virtue of setting ourselves aside at the right moment, bearing witness that the point of reference of life is Jesus.
‘To step aside, to learn to take one’s leave: I have completed this mission, I have had this meeting, I will step aside and leave room to the Lord. To learn to step aside, not to take something for ourselves in recompense.’