VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis is not thinking of resigning and is living “a totally normal life” following intestinal surgery in July, he said in a radio interview broadcast on Wednesday.
Speaking to Spanish radio network COPE, Francis, 84, dismissed an Italian newspaper report that he might step down, saying: “I don’t know where they got it from last week that I was going to resign … it didn’t even cross my mind.”
He also said he was almost certain to attend the U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow in November.
In the interview, the pope thanked a male nurse at the Vatican for convincing him to undergo surgery to remove part of his colon rather than continuing treatment with antibiotics and other medicines, as some doctors had favoured.
“He saved my life,” the pope said.
Francis, who was elected pontiff in 2013, underwent surgery on July 4 and spent 11 days in hospital. He had been suffering from a severe case of symptomatic diverticular stenosis, a narrowing of the colon.
“Now I can eat everything, which was not possible before … I lead a totally normal life,” he said, adding that 33 centimetres (13 inches) of his intestine was removed.
He further dismissed the report of his potential resignation by outlining his full schedule, with a trip to Hungary and Slovakia on Sept. 12-15 and visits to Cyprus, Greece and Malta in the pipeline as well his planned attendance at COP26.
Newspaper Libero reported on Aug. 23 that there was “a conclave in the air” at the Vatican – a reference to the secret meeting at which cardinals choose a new pope when the incumbent dies or resigns. It said Francis had spoken of resigning, possibly to coincide with his 85th birthday in December.
“Whenever a pope is ill there is always a breeze or a hurricane about a conclave,” he told COPE.
(Additional reporting by Inti Landauro in Madrid; Editing by Catherine Evans)