For the Catholic faithful, this piece of news will definitely be hard to stomach: Pope Francis says he has only two or three years to live.
Although the Argentina-born Pontiff was silent on why he thinks he would not live for more than three years, he hinted that he had ‘some nerve problems’ which require treatment.
He spoke with journalists aboard his jet as he returned from a trip to South Korea.
Francis, according to the Mailonline on Tuesday, also mentioned the possibility of retiring from the Papacy if his health failed to cope with the rigours of his office.
His predecessor, Benedict XVI, stepped down last year, in an unprecedented move that opened the way for Francis to become the Pope.
“I see it as the generosity of the people of God. I try to think of my sins, my mistakes, not to become proud. Because I know it will last only a short time,” the pope said.
Then, apparently light-heartedly, he added, “Two or three years and then I’ll be off to the Father’s house.”
A Vatican source, said the Mailonline had claimed that the Pope had previously told those close to him that he thought he only had a few years to live.
Although Francis is 77, he has been the most vigorous Pope in years, his energy proving the key to his popularity.
His frank admission may lead commentators to speculate as to whether he has any undisclosed health problems.
At the time of his elevation to the Papacy, reports emerged that Francis had a lung removed when he was a teenager in Argentina after suffering an infection.