Vatican Insider: Pope 'Joking Around' About Years Left

Wednesday, 20 Aug 2014 12:51 PM

By Melissa Clyne

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Pope Francis' recent remark that he would be going "to the House of the Father in two or three years" was made while enjoying a light moment with journalists and not a foreboding about his overall state of health, says Vatican correspondent Edward Pentin, who appeared Wednesday on Newsmax TV's "America's Forum."

"Just a little joking around," Pentin said, noting that "obviously [Pope Francis] doesn't know himself, and Father Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said soon after that that's not an indication of his health, it doesn't mean that he's got anything terminal or anything like that."

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Pope Francis has one lung. The other was removed when he was a teenager, likely because of an infection, the Associated Press reported.

"I see it as the generosity of the people of God," Pope Francis said Monday to reporters flying with him from South Korea back to the Vatican. "I try to think of my sins, my mistakes, not to become proud, because I know it will last only a short time. Two or three years, and then I'll be off to the Father's House."

The retirement of Pope Benedict XVI has likely set a precedent for having popes emeritus, Pentin said Pope Francis told the journalists.

"For 400 or 500 years, there hasn't been a pope who's resigned, and with modern-day healthcare with people living longer, but not always having all their faculties with them, that the possibility of a pope resigning is obviously more reasonable to expect, and Pope Francis said something quite interesting on the plane, which hasn't been noticed before, which is that . . . only 70 years ago bishop emeritus, a former bishop, wasn't known," Pentin said.

"Pope Francis sees this as a natural progression, but the Pope should be able to resign as well, but it would be quite an interesting situation if he did resign because you'd have obviously two popes — well, three popes in the Vatican, two in retirement, and somebody said, well, you might have to open a papal nursing home at some point if you have so many popes retired in the Vatican."

Francis: Who Is Pope Francis? Book Reveals the Man

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