- Pope Francis has stirred fear that he might be dead before 2019
- Francis referred to his own mortality twice in the span of a few minutes at a vigil which held on Saturday, April 8
- The Pope says he might not be able to attend the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day will be held in Panama in 2019
Pope Francis has voiced doubts that he may not be around by 2019, stirring fears over his mortality.
Speaking on Saturday at a vigil service to rally enthusiasm for the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day, the Pope urged young people to lead the church’s future.
As reported by the Associated Press, the 80-year-old Pope referred to his own mortality twice in the span of a few minutes at the vigil.
The Catholic Church’s World Youth Day will be held in Panama in 2019.
“I don’t know if it will be me, but the Pope will be in Panama!” he told the crowd gathered at the St. Mary Major basilica.
A few minutes earlier, he drew gasps from the pews when he teased: “At my age, we (old people) are about to pass away.”
Sensing their pained reaction, he added: “Who guarantees life? No one. At your age, you have the future ahead of you.”
The Pope is known for his casual, self-deprecating remarks and has said repeatedly he didn’t expect to be Pope for very long.
Early on in his four-year papacy, he predicted two to five years would do it. He has also not ruled out the possibility of resigning like his predecessor, Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, did.
At the same time, there’s nothing indicating that Pope Francis is slowing down.
Later this month, he begins the first of his 2017 foreign travels that are expected to bring him to Egypt, Portugal, Colombia, India, Bangladesh and perhaps South Sudan.
He is also gearing up for the next big meeting of the world’s bishops later this year, dedicated to young people.
The Vatican has solicited direct input from young people to inform its work and participate in the synod.
Pope Francis took that request further on Saturday, saying he wanted to involve not just dedicated Catholics but all young people, atheists included.
“The future is in your hands,” he said.
Pope Francis has opened a free launderette for homeless people in Rome.
Washing machines and detergent, tumble dryers and irons have been provided for the project which the Vatican said will "restore dignity” to people who are unable to pay for the service.
Showers, a barber shop and a medical centre will be added in the coming months. Free clothes will also be offered.