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"I try to think of my sins, my mistakes, not to become proud. Because I know it will last only a short time. Two or three years and then I'll be off to the Father's House," the 77-year old pontiff told reporters on a flight back to the Vatican from South Korea.
A Vatican source confirmed that the pope had previously told those close to him that he thought he only had a few years left, Hindustan Times said.
He also did not rule out resigning the papacy if he felt he could no longer adequately perform his duties, as his predecessor Benedict XVI did last year.
The pope added that 60 years ago it was practically unheard of for Catholic bishops to retire, but nowadays it was common.“Benedict XVI opened a door,” he said.