Pope Francis, in a recent interview, revealed that he has already chosen a final resting place for himself, although he doesn’t expect to need it any time soon. The pontiff, who will celebrate his 87th birthday this Sunday, made the revelation during an interview with Mexican television. In a break from tradition, Pope Francis shared that he has chosen the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore as his burial site. The basilica is located outside Vatican City, but still within Rome.
According to the Telegraph, Pope Francis explained, “The place is already prepared.” He visits the basilica regularly to pray by a Byzantine-style painting of Mary holding the baby Jesus. This is a tradition he follows both before and after his foreign trips. The pope expressed his devotion to this practice, saying, “It’s my great devotion.”
Pope Francis Has Prepared His Own Tomb, Wants to Break Tradition with Where He’s Buried pic.twitter.com/84DccExH96
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In addition to discussing his burial plans, Pope Francis mentioned his intention to revise the papal funeral ceremony. “When old age arrives and you reach limits, you need to prepare yourself,” he said. The pope added that he would like to launch a new funeral ritual to reflect these changes. However, despite battling various ailments, Pope Francis seemed optimistic about his health. He stated, “I feel good, I feel improved.”
Pope Francis also touched on his interactions with conservative critics within the Catholic Church, revealing that he has become more firm with them over the past year. “There are some you need to stand up to a bit,” the pope explained. While his health has limited his travel, Pope Francis plans to visit Belgium next year and is considering trips to Polynesia and Argentina, his home country. Reflecting on the recent election campaign in Argentina, the pope acknowledged the criticisms he faced from newly elected President Javier Milei. However, he believes that campaign tactics should be distinguished from post-election actions.
As for the question of his resignation, Pope Francis expressed his willingness to step down if it seemed necessary. “I ask the Lord to say enough, at some point, but when he wants me to,” he said. With his characteristic humor, Pope Francis added, “I’m a bit of a gambler, I like surprises.”