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Pope Francis left no subject untouched: his health, criticism, the death of Benedict XVI and his future

Pope Francis said that “he is in good health” and that he will continue as long as he can as bishop of Rome despite a wave of criticism from some high-ranking cardinals and bishops, and clarified that it did not even occur to him to introduce regulations to regulate future papal resignations.

In an interview with the AP news agencythe first since the death of Benedict XVI, Francis also spoke about the next phase of his pontificate, which marks its 10th anniversary in March, and which now does not have the shadow of the emeritus pope in the background.

“I’m healthy. For the age that I am, I am normalsaid Francisco, 86. Still, he indicated that the diverticulosis, pouches that form in the wall of the intestine, had “returned.” In 2021, Francis had 10 inches (33 centimeters) of his large intestine removed, which the Vatican described as inflation caused by a narrowing of the colon.

He added that a small fracture in the knee from a fall had healed without surgery, after treatment with laser and magnetotherapy. “I may die tomorrow, but come on, it’s controlled. I’m in good health, ”she said with his usual irony.

Speculation about Francis’ health and the future of his pontificate has only grown since the death of Benedict, whose resignation in 2013 marked a turning point for the Catholic Church, the first pontiff to resign in six centuries.

Some experts believe that Francis could see himself freer to maneuver now that Benedict is gone, who spent the 10 years of his retirement in the Vatican. Others suggest that whatever kind of ecclesiastical peace has ended and that Francis is now more open to criticism, deprived of the moderating influence that Benedict played in keeping more conservative Catholics at bay.

The pope acknowledged that there were conflicting views, but seemed almost optimistic about it.




Francis praised Benedict’s “lordship” and said that, with his death, he lost “a dad.” AP Photo/Andrew Medichini

“I would not associate it with Benedict, but with the wear and tear of the ten-year government,” he said of his papacy. His choice was first met with “surprise” by the appointment of a South American pope, he said. Then came the discomfort “when they start to see the defects that I have, (…) they don’t like it,” he said.

“I All I ask is that they be done to my face.Because that’s how we all grow, right?” He added about the criticism. Francisco, in parallel, praised the “lordship” of Benedict, and said that, with his death, he lost “a dad.”

“For me it was security when faced with a doubt, asking for the car and going to the monastery and asking questions,” he said of his visits to Benedict’s retirement home to seek advice. “I lost a good partner,” she completed.

Potato retirements and their future

Some cardinals and canon lawyers have said that the Vatican should regulate future retirements of potatoes to avoid some hiccups during Benedict’s unexpectedly long retirement, in which the emeritus pope remained a point of reference for some conservatives and traditionalists who refused to recognize Francis’ legitimacy.

From the name chosen by Benedict, pope emeritus, to the white clothes he wore in his occasional public appearances, in which he spoke of the celibacy of priests and sexual abuse, these experts said that the norms should make it clear that there is only one ruling pope. , for the sake of the unity of the Church.

Francis said that I hadn’t even thought about those rules. “It didn’t occur to me. I tell you the truth”, she commented, adding that the Vatican needs more experience with retired popes to “regulate more or regulate more”.

In this sense, he recognized that Benedict “opened the door” to future resignations and that he would also consider it. On Tuesday he reiterated that if he resigned, he would take up the post of bishop emeritus of Rome and live in the residence for retired priests in the diocese of Rome.

The pope described Benedict’s decision to settle in a converted monastery in the Vatican Gardens as “a good compromise” but that perhaps in the future, other popes might want to do things differently.

“He was still a slave, unquote, of a pope, right?” Francis said. “From the vision of a pope, of a system. Slave in the good sense of the word. In which he was not completely free, as perhaps he would have wanted to return to his Germany and continue studying theology from there ”, he added.

Pope Francis, in a break from the first interview he gave since the death of Benedict XVI.  Photo AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis


Pope Francis, in a break from the first interview he gave since the death of Benedict XVI. Photo AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis

Benedict’s death arguably removes the main obstacle to Francis resigning, given that the prospect of having two retired popes was never an option. But Francisco said that the death of his predecessor had not changed his plans. “It didn’t even occur to me to make a will about myself, he commented.

In the short term, Francis stressed his role as bishop of Rome in contrast to the pope figure and said his plans were to continue to be a bishop, bishop of Rome and in communion with all the bishops of the world.” He indicated that he wanted to eliminate the concept of the papacy as a court.

The pope also addressed criticism from cardinals and bishops known in the weeks since Benedict’s death, something he described as uncomfortable, like hives, that bothers a little, but prefers it to keep quiet.

“One prefers there not to be (criticism). For peace of mind, go,” she noted. But I prefer that they do them, because that means that there is freedom to speak.

If this is not the case, a dictatorship of the distance is engendered, which I call it, where the emperor is there and nobody can say anything to him. No, let them say, because the company, the criticism, helps to grow and things to go well, he added.

The first spear in the flurry of attacks came from Benedict’s longtime secretary, Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, who laid bare the resentment built up over the past 10 years in a revealing memoir published in the first days after the funeral. of Benedict.

In one of the most controversial parts, Gaenswein revealed that Benedict learned from the Vatican daily L’Osservatore Romano that Francis had revoked one of the pope emeritus’ most signal liturgical decisions and reimposed restrictions on celebrating Mass in Latin.

A few days after the memoirs were published, the Vatican was rocked again by the death of another Conservative leader, Cardinal George Pell, and revelations that Pell had written a devastating memo that was circulated last year, and that he had described Francis’ pontificate as “a disaster” and “a catastrophe.”

The text, initially circulated under the pseudonym Demos, listed all the problems at the Vatican under Francis, from its precarious finances to the pontiff’s preaching style, and included a list of what a future pope might do to fix them.

Francis acknowledged Pell’s criticism but praised him nonetheless for being his right-hand man in reforming Vatican finances and his first finance minister.

“They say that in the end he criticized me. Well, he has the right, criticism is a human right,” Francisco commented. “A great guy. Great”.

Pope Francis: “Homosexuality is not a crime”

Pope Francis criticized laws criminalizing homosexuality as “unfair,” he said that God loves all his children just the way they are and called on Catholic bishops who support those laws to welcome LGBTQ people into the Church.

“Being homosexual is not a crime,” Francisco said during an interview Tuesday with the AP. Francis acknowledged that Catholic bishops in some parts of the world support laws that criminalize homosexuality or discriminate against the LGBTQ community, calling homosexuality a “sin.”

However, he attributed these attitudes to cultural contexts and said that bishops in particular must also go through a process of change to recognize the dignity of all. “The bishop also has a conversion process,” he said, adding that they should show “tenderness, please, tenderness, as God has with each one of us.”

Francis cited the catechism of the Catholic Church to point out that homosexuals should be welcomed and respected, and should not be marginalized or discriminated against. “We are all children of God and God loves us as we are and with the strength that each one of us fights for our dignity,” he established.

He also stated that in relation to homosexuality, a distinction should be made between crime and sin. “Being homosexual is not a crime,” he said. “It is not a crime. Yes, but it’s a sin. Well, first let’s distinguish sin from crime. But lack of charity towards one’s neighbor is also a sin.

Francis came under fire from the LGBTQ Catholic community for a 2021 decree from the Vatican’s office of doctrine that the Church cannot bless same-sex unions because God cannot bless sin.

With information from AP.

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