retiring popes
Pope Francis (L) embraces Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI as he arrives at the Castel Gandolfo summer residence March 23, 2013. Pope Francis said in a recent interview that he considers travel a "penance" and is considering retiring, like his predecessor. REUTERS/Osservatore Romano

Pope Francis hinted that he could retire in just a few years, following the lead of his predecessor Benedict XVI, who was the first pope to retire in over six centuries. He also shared the two things that he doesn't like about being being pope in a broad and frank interview with Televisa’s Valentina Alazraki.

"I have the feeling that my papacy will be brief: 4 or 5 years; I do not know, even 2 or 3. Two have already passed. It is a somewhat vague sensation,” Francis said, according to a translation of the full interview by Vatican Radio. “Maybe it's like the psychology of the gambler who convinces himself he will lose so he won’t be disappointed and if he wins, is happy.”

The pontiff said that Pope Benedict had made a potential retirement possible, and that he’d like to see it become the norm.

“In general, I think what Benedict so courageously did was to open the door to the popes emeritus. Benedict should not be considered an exception, but an institution,” he said.

While he says he doesn’t mind being Pope, Francis’ “vague sensation” might be caused by the two things he likes least about the job: fame and travel.

“I think that my great penance is travel. I don’t like to travel. I’m very stuck to my environment; it’s a neurosis,” -- a neurosis that FrancIs celebrates; he encourages others to find their own.

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