Pope Francis hopes to die in Rome, still the Catholic pontiff, without ever spending his last days in his native Argentina, according to a new book entitled “The Health of the Popes.”
In an interview with Argentine journalist and doctor Nelson Castro at the Vatican in February 2019, the Pope said that he thinks about death, but is not afraid of it.
Excerpts from the book were published on Saturday in the Argentine newspaper La Nación.
When asked how he sees his last days, the 84-year-old Francisco replied: “I will be Pope, active or emeritus, and in Rome. I will not return to Argentina.”
Francis has had to cancel some events in recent months due to a painful sciatica problem, but he is not known to suffer from other major ailments.
The Vatican has always been reticent about the health of a pope.
According to the new book, “This is the first time that a Pope speaks of his health with the transparency that Francis offers him.”
The pontiff, former archbishop of Buenos Aires, says he does not miss his native Argentina, where Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the son of Italian immigrants, was born.
“No, I don’t miss it. I lived there for 76 years. What hurts me are its problems”, alluding to the economic crisis that is shaking the South American country.
The Pope has been vaccinated against Covid-19.
Regardless of his age, the leader of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics is considered high risk: in 1957, at age 21, he suffered acute pleurisy and had part of his right lung removed.