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Pope hints at early exit

Published:Sunday | March 15, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Pope Francis, left, and Pope emeritus Benedict XVI meet in Castel Gandolfo Saturday, March 23, 2013.

Pope Francis has suggested he may resign his papacy like his predecessor, rather than remain at the Vatican for life.

The pontiff made the comments during an interview with a Mexican television station, marking the second anniversary of his election.

"I have the feeling that my pontificate will be brief. Four or five years; I do not know. Even two or three," he said.

He praised Pope Benedict's decision to step aside in 2013 as "courageous".

"Benedict should not be considered an exception, but an institution. Maybe he will be the only one for a long time, maybe he will not be the only one. But an institutional door has been opened."

Pope Francis has hinted in the past that he could retire, but said he was opposed to the idea of an age limit for leaders of the Catholic Church.

"To say that one is in charge up to 80 years creates a sensation that the pontificate is at its end, and that would not be a good thing," added the pontiff.