Pope Francis has told young people they are the future even if he may not be around to see it. The octogenarian pontiff talked about his mortality during a vigil at St. Mary Major basilica for the next World Youth Day (WYD) wherein he called on the youth to rally enthusiasm for the occasion.
He said, “At my age, we (old people) are about to pass away.” Sensing the surprised reaction of the audience, he added, “Who guarantees life? No one. At your age, you have the future ahead of you.”
Later on, the 80-year-old pope expressed doubt if he would be around much longer for WYD in Panama in 2019.
“I don’t know if it will be me, but the pope will be in Panama!” he said, adding, “There will be a Pope there and he will ask you if you took time to speak to the elderly, to listen to their dreams, so you can concretely act as prophets in the world today!”
Pope Francis has repeatedly said he doesn’t expect to be pope for a long time and didn’t rule out resignation as what Pope Benedict XVI, his predecessor, did. In 2015, he indicated that his tenure may last less than five years.
“I feel that the Lord has placed me here for a short time and nothing more,” he said.