Is Pope Francis about to hand in his resignation? Who is the Pontiff, how old is he and is he set to retire

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The Pope was appointed to the Vatican in 2013 after his predecessor Pope Benedict retired due to ‘advanced age’

There has been growing speculation that Pope Francis may be handing in his resignation.

The Pope has fuelled rumours by announcing that he will attend a feast in August initiated by a 13th-century Pope who resigned.

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The 85-year-old Pontiff has seen his health deteriorating in recent months after undergoing surgery for his knee.

He became Pope in 2013, after replacing Pope Benedict who is one of only five Popes in the history of the Catholic Church to resign.

Here’s everything you need to know about Pope Francis and if the pontiff has plans to retire.

Who is Pope Francis?

Pope Francis real name is Jorge Mario Bergoglio.

Pope Francis on Christmas Day 2013 (Pic: Getty Images)Pope Francis on Christmas Day 2013 (Pic: Getty Images)
Pope Francis on Christmas Day 2013 (Pic: Getty Images) | Getty Images

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, his past jobs included a bouncer and a janitor, before he was inspired to join the Society of Jesus after recovering from an illness.

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He became an ordained priest in 1969, working his way up to Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998 and was appointed a Cardinal in 2001.

He was selected as Pope Benedict’s successor in 2013 and adopted the name Francis, in honour of Saint Francis of Assisi.

He is the first ever Pontiff from the America’s and the first to come from the southern hemisphere.

How old is Pope Francis?

Pope Francis was born 17 December 1936, making him 85-years-old.

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His predecessor Pope Benedict was the same age when he resigned citing “advanced age.”

Is Pope Francis about to resign?

Pope Francis fuelled rumours he was about to resign after announcing he would be hosting a consistory in August and attend the Perdonanza Celestiniana festival, where he will visit the tomb of Celestine V, who resigned as Pope in 1294.

Pope Francis, seated in a wheelchair following knee treatment in June 2022 (Pic: AFP via Getty Images)Pope Francis, seated in a wheelchair following knee treatment in June 2022 (Pic: AFP via Getty Images)
Pope Francis, seated in a wheelchair following knee treatment in June 2022 (Pic: AFP via Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

Pope Benedict made the same pilgrimage before announcing he was resigning in 2013.

The consistory will be held on the 27 August, with the Pope appointing new Cardinals who will have the power to elect the next Pope.

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According to La Crioux Editor Robert Mickens “It’s very odd to have a consistory in August.”

Mickens added: “I think there’ll be another announcement: it might not be that he’s going to resign, but I think that’s a very good possibility.”

Pope Francis has commented on resignation in the past, stating that he had a feeling his time at the Vatican would be brief.

In 2015 he described Pope Benedict’s decision to retire as “courageous”.

The Pope’s health has been in decline in recent months.

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The Pontiff has been avoiding standing up due to an “inflamed ligament in the knee” and has been unable to greet pilgrims on foot.

Speaking anonymously, a senior Vatican official stated that: “His health situation isn’t brilliant.

“But it’s not enough to impose a resignation.”

Can a Pope resign?

The Pontiff usually serves until death, with only five Pope’s resigning in the Church’s two thousand year history.

The last Pope to resign was Pope Benedict, who left his role as Pontiff in 2013 due to “advanced age.”

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He was the first Pope to retire since Pope Gregory XII in 1415.

There was speculation that he had been forced to step down due his handling of sexual abuse allegations in Germany.

However, writing in La Stampa the former Pope said: “The only condition for the validity is the full freedom of the decision. Speculation about its invalidity is simply absurd.”

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