Pope Francis said on Sunday that after he was elected in 2013, he signed a letter of resignation to be used if his health seriously deteriorated and created impediments to his duties.
“I have already signed the document on my resignation. Secretary of State was then [Cardinal] Tarcisio Bertone. I signed it and told him: ‘In case of impediments for medical reasons or for any other, here is my resignation,'” the 86-year-old pontiff said in an interview with Spanish newspaper ABC.
Rumors of the pontiff’s resignation have been circulating since July, though he denied all allegations as unfounded. In August, media reported that Pope Francis suffered from severe pain in the knee joint, which caused him to use a wheelchair.
In July 2021, the pontiff underwent planned surgery on his intestine.