Pope Francis says he may need to cut back his amount of travelling or retire 1 week ago

Pope Francis says he may need to cut back his amount of travelling or retire

"It's not a catastrophe. You can change the pope."

Pope Francis has said he may need to cut back in terms of his level of travelling or else retire, according to reports.

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Multiple outlets state that the pontiff made the comments while in Canada as part of a six-day trip.

In recent months, the 85-year-old has begun using a wheelchair while out in public due to knee pain.

"I don't think I can continue doing trips with the same rhythm as before," Pope Francis is quoted as saying.

"I think that at my age and with this limitation I have to preserve myself a bit in order to be able to serve the Church or decide to step aside."

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On the latter option, the Pope is reported as stating that this would not be "strange" or a "catastrophe", adding: "You can change the pope."

"The door is open. It is one of the normal options. Up until today, I did not use that door. I did not think it was necessary to think of this possibility but that does not mean that the day after tomorrow I don't start thinking about it," he also said.

"This trip was a bit of a test. It is true that I can't make trips in this condition. Maybe the style has to change, make fewer trips, make the trips I have promised to make, re-jig things.

"But it will be the Lord who decides. The door is open."

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In 2013, Pope Francis' predecessor Pope Benedict XVI unexpectedly announced his resignation, citing a lack of strength due to his advanced age.

In doing so, the pontiff became the first to resign in almost 600 years.