Francis Predicts His Papacy Will Be 4 to 5 Years, Misses Pizza

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Pope Francis has said he will probably remain pope for only a few years, adding that his predecessor was very brave for retiring.

“I have the feeling that my pontificate will be brief, four or five years — I do not know, even two or three,” he said in an Spanish-language interview with Mexican broadcaster Televisa. “I have the feeling that the Lord has placed me here for a short time but it's a feeling.”

Francis, 78, who has said he thought he’d be pope for only a few years, added that Pope Benedict XVI showed great bravery when he decided to step down and become emeritus pope in 2013.

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“I think what Benedict did with so much courage was open the door to popes emeritus,” Francis said in the interview broadcast late on Thursday. “Benedict should not be considered as an exception but as an institution.”

Francis, who was marking the second anniversary of his election, also mused about what he missed as pope.

“The only thing I would like is be able to go out one day, without being recognized, and go to a pizzeria to eat a pizza,” he said.

Also on Friday, Francis announced a Jubilee Year focused on forgiveness and mercy.


— F. Brinley Bruton and Shanshan Dong, with The Associated Press