While rumors circulated by an Italian media outlet suggesting the possible resignation of the Argentine pontiff, the latter sweeps the hypothesis off the table with the microphone of a Spanish radio station. On August 30, 2021, COPE media previewed an interview with Pope Francis addressing his health to be released on Wednesday.
Since his colon surgery in early July—which required general anesthesia and ten days in the hospital—Pope Francis has not granted an interview. However, he recently agreed to speak for an hour and a half with the Spanish radio network COPE to discuss his health.
“I’m alive,” says Pope Francis responding to journalist Carlos Herrera’s question about the Holy Father’s recovery since his operation in early July. Regarding press speculations on the possibility of resignation, the Bishop of Rome replies: “When the Pope is sick, there is always a breeze or a hurricane about a conclave.”
An article in the Italian newspaper Libero Quoditiano published on August 23 announced—without citing sources—that the Pope “had expressed his intention to resign.” The reasons given in the article were Pope Francis’ health, weakened by his colon surgery, and his age. The pope is approaching 85 and Benedict XVI was 85 when he resigned.
Since Libero Quoditiano’s piece, several articles have appeared to suggest this possibility and already have begun to discuss an upcoming conclave. The interview given to Spanish radio is a way for the Holy See to extinguish rumors.
Continuing to recover from his operation—Pope Francis admitted on August 27 that he was still in the postoperative stage—the pontiff has resumed his ordinary activities. On September 12, he will take off on a four-day trip to Hungary and Slovakia.