On Wednesday, Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga denied rumors that the pope may resign.
According to Religion News, Maradiaga, who advises the pope within the Council of Cardinals, suggested that rumors of Pope Francis’ physical decline leading to a resignation were nothing more than “fake news” perpetrated by outlets primarily in the United States.
“He has never thought about [resigning],” Maradiaga told Spanish news outlet EFE.
Rumors of resignation began to swirl after the pope had one side of his colon removed at the Roman hospital Gemelli. Additionally, the pope also suffers from knee pain, which has forced him to use a wheelchair.
A number of doctors interviewed by multiple Italian media outlets have said the pope should undergo a relatively simple surgery to ease his knee pain, which has now worsened due to arthritis. But on May 23, Francis said, “I’d resign rather than undergo surgery.”