April 10, 2017
Pope Francis caused a stir in a crowd in Rome on April 8 by suggesting that he might not survive to see the next international celebration of World Youth Day, which will be held in Panama in 2019.
“I don’t know whether I will be there, but the Pope will be in Panama!,” the Pontiff said. He also mentioned that “at my age, we are getting ready to leave the scene.”
The Pope, who is 80 years old, contrasted his situation with that of the young people who joined him for a prayer vigil in anticipation of World Youth Day. “You have the future in front of you,” he told them.
Pope Francis has mentioned on several occasions that he does not expect to have a long pontificate. However Vatican insiders say that there are no particular concerns about his health.
Pope Francis hints he may not be around in 2019 (AP)
Prayer Vigil of the Holy Father Francis in preparation for the 32nd World Youth Day (Vatican press office)