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Pope says he will slow down or retire after relying on wheelchair and walker during trip to Canada

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ONBOARD THE POPAL PLANE — Pope Francis admitted on Saturday that he can no longer travel as he used to because of his strained knee ligaments. Canadian Pilgrimage of a Week was “a bit of a test” showing that he needs to slow down and possibly retire one day.

Speaking to reporters as he traveled home from north Nunavut, Francis, 85, emphasized that he had not thought about resigning, but said “the door is open” and there was nothing wrong with it. a pope who resigns.

“It is not strange. It’s not a disaster. You can change the Pope,” he said as he sat in an airplane wheelchair during a 45-minute press conference.

Francis said that while he hadn’t considered stepping down until now, he realizes he needs to at least slow down.

“I think at my age and with these limitations I have to save (my energy) to serve the Church, or on the contrary, think about the possibility of stepping aside,” he said.

Francis was peppered with questions about the future of his pontificate after the maiden voyage in which he used a wheelchair, walker and cane to get around, severely limiting his program and ability to mingle with the crowd.

Earlier this year, he strained his right knee ligaments and continued laser and magnetic therapy forced him to cancel a trip to Africa scheduled for the first week of July.

The journey to Canada was difficult and there were several times when Francis was clearly in pain as he maneuvered going up and down seats.

At the end of his six-day tour, he appeared cheerful and energetic, despite a long day of travel to the edge of the Arctic to apologize once again to the indigenous peoples for the injustice they have suffered in the church-run residential schools in Canada.

Francis ruled out surgery on his knee, saying it wouldn’t necessarily help, noting that “there are still traces” of the effects of undergoing more than six hours of anesthesia in July 2021 at 13 inches from his colon. to delete.

“I will try to keep doing the trips and being close to the people because I think it’s a way to serve, to be close. But I can’t say more than this,” he said on Saturday.

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