After Pope Francis announced his impending trip to the city of L’Aquila on Saturday, speculation about his resignation grew
Pope Francis will pay a pastoral visit to L’Aquila on August 28, 2022, according to the Holy See Press Office.
The pontiff’s forthcoming trip has fueled suspicion that he may retire, especially as it will take place one day after the Pope’s consistory for the appointment of 21 new cardinals at the Vatican.
But how do these two incidents relate to his pontificate’s future? Because pontiffs typically keep their positions until death, resignations are unusual; Benedict XVI was the first pope to step down in almost 600 years.
How does Pope Francis’ L’Aquila trip link to retirement rumours?
Pope Francis will be in attendance at a Holy Mass at the Basilica Of Santa Maria di Collemaggio to celebrate a feast initiated by St Celestine V, the 13th-century pope who resigned from the post after just five months of office. The basilica is also the burial place of the pontiff.
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Benedict XVI resigned as the head of the church in 2013, four years after he visited the basilica. In 2009, he placed his pallium on top of Celestine’s glass casket as a gift, and upon his retirement, fans wondered if it was a gesture foreshadowing his leave.
Now, there’s speculation that the Pope is following the footsteps of the retired prelate.
Rumours first sparked after the 85-year-old announced a consistory to create 21 new cardinals since 16 of them are under age 80, thus eligible to vote in a conclave to elect his successor.
Combining these two occurrences with his declining health condition, discussions about his tenure continue to circulate.
Pope Francis’ health condition
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Pope Francis has suffered from sciatica for several years, a nerve pain that affects the lower back and legs. He cancelled numerous public appearances as a result of the condition in 2021.
He underwent surgery in the summer of 2021 caused by diverticulitis, inflammation of the diverticula, small bulging pouches that can form in the colon. One side of his colon was removed, reported Catholic News Agency.
Since May 2022, he has been spotted using a wheelchair due to knee discomfort since the beginning of the year.
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📹 VIDEO | Sound on! Listen to thousands of pilgrims encouraging Pope Francis as he makes a huge effort to stand up and walk at the end of the general audience. He is undergoing treatment for a torn ligament in his knee. Stay strong, dear Holy Father! pic.twitter.com/iejCLYtBlF— Catholic News Agency (@cnalive) May 4, 2022