The opening of the holy door will mark the start of the annual celebration established by Pope Celestine V in 1294 and inscribed by UNESCO on its Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2009. Cardinal Giuseppe Petrocchi of L’Aquila said that Francis will be the first pope to open the holy door for 728 years.
Have there been rumors about Pope Francis resigning before?
Days after the pope underwent colon surgery in July 2021, rumors swept social media claiming that the pope planned to resign “in the next few hours.” But the speculation was quickly proven false. The pope left the hospital and soon resumed his hectic schedule.
A steady stream of resignation theories continued to appear throughout 2021. The pope’s health problems in 2022, which have forced him to use a wheelchair for public events, triggered more conjecture.
Has Pope Francis said anything about resigning?
After his election in 2013, Pope Francis praised Benedict XVI’s decision to resign. In a 2014 interview, he said that “Benedict is the first and maybe there will be others. We don’t know.”
But he has never said explicitly that he personally intends to resign. Speaking after his colon surgery in 2021, he noted that “Whenever a pope is ill, there is always a breeze or a hurricane of conclave.”
Referring to resignation rumors that appeared to originate in his homeland of Argentina, he added: “I don’t know where they got it from last week that I was going to resign! What word did they understand in my country? That’s where the news came from. And they say it was a commotion, when it didn’t even cross my mind.”