Pope Francis Says He Has 'Two or Three Years' Left to Live

Pope Francis
Pope Francis. (File) |

Pope Francis spoke publicly about his death and old age for the first time earlier this week, noting that he tries to stay humble by remembering that he only has a few years left to live.

Francis was on a flight back from a five-day trip to South Korea when he made the remarks after being asked how he handles his popularity and suggested that he would consider retiring early if necessary.

"I try to think of my sins, my mistakes, so as not to think that I am somebody. Because I know this will last a short time, two or three years, and then to the house of the Father," said Francis to The Telegraph.

The 77-year-old pontiff also noted that he would consider leaving his post like his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, did last year as he was the first pope to retire in 600 years. Usually, the pope's position at the Vatican is replaced whenever a pontiff dies.

"Let us think about what he said," said Francis. "'I have got old, I do not have the strength.' It was a beautiful gesture of nobility, of humility and courage."

He added, "I would do the same. I would pray, but I would do the same. He opened a door that is institutional, not exceptional."

The pope also admitted that he needs to care for his health more than he usually does while adding that he currently has "some nerve problem" but has begun to take precautions.

"I change rhythm. I sleep more, I read the things I like. I listen to music. That way I rest. In July and part of August I did that," said Francis. " … Our life gets longer and at a certain age there isn't the capacity to govern well because the body gets tired, and maybe one's health is good but there isn't the capacity to carry forward all the problems of a government like that of the Church."

The pope's comments took place Tuesday, the same day the wife and two sons of his 38-year-old nephew, Emanuel Bergoglio from Buenos Aires, Argentina, were killed in a car accident.

The family was reportedly returning to Buenos Aires following a holiday weekend when the crash happened. Bergoglio is currently hospitalized after sustaining life-threatening injuries.

The Vatican released a statement following the news of their death stating, "The Pope has been informed of the tragic accident in Argentina involving family members, and he is deeply saddened. He asks all those who share his grief to unite with him in prayer."

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