Pope Francis has revealed that he is facing imminent death and may die in two or three years’ time.
The Pope made the statement on a plane trip back from South Korea.
Daily Mail reports that he told journalists he believed he only had limited time left to complete his reforms of the Roman Catholic Church.
Asked about how he copes with his popularity, he said: ‘I try to think of my sins, my mistakes, so as not to think that I am some-body important.’
He then added with a smile: ‘Because I know this is going to last a short time, two or three years and then… to the house of the Father.’
According to a Vatican source, the 77-year-old has previously told those close to him that he thought he only had a few years left.
He also revealed that he would consider retiring if he felt he could no longer perform his duties.
His predecessor Pope Benedict XVI resigned in February last year.
‘If you asked me if, in the future, I felt I could not go forward, would I do the same? I would do the same. Benedict has opened a door,’ Francis said on board the papal plane.
The conference marked the end of his trip to South Korea, which he had been touring since Thursday.
He also admitted that his advisers have been encouraging him to rest more after he cancelled a series of engagements earlier in the year.
In June he cancelled a visit to the Gemelli Hospital in Rome due to a ‘sudden ailment’.
At the time he told Catholic television station TV2000: ‘We are not masters of our own lives, we cannot arrange things to suit us. We have to accept fragility.’
He also called off trips to a shrine in February and a seminary in May.
‘Those were very demanding days. And now I have to be a bit more sensible,’ he said, adding that he had been sleeping more over the past two months. But he said the last time he took a holiday away from home was ‘with the Jesuit community in 1975’.
The Pope has kept up a whirlwind of activity since his election in March 2013. However he has some underlying health problems, including sciatica. He also had part of a lung removed in his youth.
Some observers claim the pontiff has gained weight and is having difficulty breathing, which could be signs of a heart condition.
He instructed advisers to clear his schedule yesterday so he could recuperate from his trip, calling off a visit to a shrine near Rome.
He also received the sad news that three members of his family had died in a car crash in Argentina.
His two young great-nephews, aged two and eight months, and their 39-year-old mother Valeria Carmona, were killed in a road accident on Monday.
Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said the Pope’s nephew Emanuel Bergoglio, who was driving, was in a serious condition.
He added: ‘The Pope was informed about the tragic accident. He is deeply pained.’
The family’s car reportedly collided with a lorry in the Cordoba region, north-east of Buenos Aires.
Source: Daily Mail