Will Pope Francis resign? | The Sun

There are rumours Pope Francis could resign following a spate of health issues the pontiff has suffered from recently.

Italian and Catholic media have been "rife with unsourced speculation" the 85-year-old could be set to resign.

Will Pope Francis resign?

NPR said the Pope could be preparing to quit following a spate of health issues.

They are being fuelled by an announcement that Francis will visit the central Italian city of L'Aquila in August for a feast begun by Pope Celestine V – one of the few popes to have stepped down.

Pope Francis, otherwise known as Jorge Mario Bergoglio, replaced Benedict XVI, who retired from the job nine years ago.

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He was seen as a reformer and offered a sharp contrast to Benedict.

But he has been affected by a series of health issues that have stymied his time as Pope.

They include colon surgery, which has meant Francis has had to use to a wheelchair for the past month.

His visit to L'Aquila has also raised eyebrows.

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Benedict visited the tomb of Celestine V in 2009, some four years before stepping down.

When was Pope Francis elected?

Pope Francis was elected in 2013 with a mandate to reform the Vatican.

He recently appointed a swathe of new cardinals who will elect his successor, sparking rumours his agenda may soon be complete.

He will have named 83 out of the 132 cardinal electors therefore raising his chances of electing a successor ready to push through a similar agenda of "mercy before dogma", said The Times.

Pope Francis has also invited all cardinals to Rome in August to discuss a new Vatican constitution.

It's understood the new constitution will allow women to head up Vatican departments, impose term limits on priestly Vatican employees, and position the Holy See as an institution at the service of local churches, as part of Francis’s campaign to “make the Vatican less self-referential and more open to the needs of far-flung dioceses," according to The Week.

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Who did Pope Francis replace?

Pope Francis replaced Pope Benedict XVI in 2013 when the latter chose to step down.

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