In an interview published on December 18, 2022 by the Spanish daily newspaper ABC, Pope Francis answered various questions about current events inside and outside the Church.
The first question and its answer are interesting. The journalist asked the Pope: “You often address yourself to those who are far from the Church. Are you not afraid that those who are closer to the Church will feel left out?”
The Pope's response is quite unusual: “If they are good, they don't feel neglected. If they have something half-hidden, which they don't even know, they are like the eldest son in the parable of the prodigal son: ‘I served you for many years, and now you take care of him, and you don’t listen to me.’ It is an ugly sin, of hidden ambition. It is a bit like living and belonging to the Church as a place of promotion.”
Thus the Pope seems to consider that he should take better care of those who are far from the Church than of the flock entrusted to him by Christ so that he may lead them to eternal life. But no doubt he thinks that this flock must also and above all take care of those who are outside the Church. This is ignoring the doctrinal misery in which many Catholics vegetate today. Before thinking about evangelizing others, you have to evangelize yourself: “no one can give what he does not have.”
Towards the end of the interview, the journalist asks Francis: “What advice would you give to your successors?” His answer: “I would tell them not to make the mistakes that I made.” The journalist continues: “Were there many?” And Francis: “Yes, there are, yes.”
The last question asked: “What happens if a pontiff is suddenly incapacitated by health problems or an accident? Would a rule for such cases be appropriate?”
It was then that Francis confessed: “I have already signed my resignation. It was when Tarcisio Bertone was Secretary of State. I signed the resignation and told him: ‘In case of health impediment or whatever, here is my resignation. You have it.’ I don't know who Cardinal Bertone gave it to, but I gave it to him when he was Secretary of State.”
Faced with the journalist’s astonishment: “You had never said that before.” – “It's the first time that I've said it,” answered the Pope. – “So you want it to be known?” – “That's why I’m saying it.”
Despite this fact, each time the subject came up, thePpope did not suggest that he planned to resign, except, precisely, if his health prevented him from fulfilling his papal function.