Pope Francis on Wednesday told a group of Brazilian bishops that he had no plans to step down despite recent rumors that he will resign.
In a Portuguese translation of the Vatican newsletter, Archbishop Roque Paloschi said Francis told the bishops that, "I want to live my mission as long as God allows me and that's it."
Paloschi added that "resignation does not cross his mind."
Monsignor Lúcio Nicoletto added that he was impressed by Francis' "great strength" at the meeting.
That news came after Francis, 85, told a meeting of priests in Rome last week: "Rather than operate, I'll resign," the Daily Mail reported.
During his weekly general audience on Wednesday, Francis encouraged the elderly to embrace their weaknesses and ill health, rather than fight against them, Catholic News Agency reported.
"Tell me about having to go in a wheelchair, eh," said the pope, who has been using a cane and wheelchair in recent weeks due to an inflamed ligament in his knee.
"But that's how it is, that's how life is: with old age you get all these diseases, and we have to accept them as they come, don't we?"
Reports have circulated that Francis has been considering retirement due to various health issues. He was elected pope in 2013.
A planned July trip to Congo and South Sudan was canceled on doctors' orders because of the pope's ongoing knee problems.
Rumors about the future of Francis' pontificate increased earlier this month after it was announced that he would visit the central Italian city of L'Aquila in August for a feast initiated by Pope Celestine V, one of the few pontiffs who resigned before Pope Benedict XVI stepped down in 2013.
A week before that, Francis announced a consistory to create 21 new cardinals scheduled for Aug. 27. Sixteen are under age 80 and eligible to vote in a conclave to elect Francis' successor.
However, Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, one of the pope's closest advisers, said earlier this month that talk of a papal resignation was nothing more than "a cheap soap opera."
"He has never thought about [resigning]," Maradiaga said in the interview with Spanish news outlet EFE.
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