Pope Francis announced in a recent interview that he plans to be buried outside the Vatican.
The pontiff told Mexican broadcaster Televisa’s N+ news service that he has arranged to be buried in the Basilica of Santa Maria Major in Rome.
“The place is already prepared,” Pope Francis told the report, saying the basilica where he regularly prays before foreign trips is his “great devotion.”
REVEALED POPE FRANCIS’S ILLNESS IS “VERY ACUTE INFECTIOUS BRONCHITIS”
While the Pope says he is recovering from his bout with severe bronchitis, he notes that his abilities are declining with age.
“It is true that all travel has now been reviewed,” Pope Francis told the agency about travel abroad. “If they’re close, they can be done. If they’re further away, they’re reconsidered. There are limits.”
He does not intend to retire like his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, reiterating his belief that the papacy is meant to be a post until death – but says he is waiting for God to decide when his reign will end.
POPE FRANCIS Says ‘Lure of Corruption’ Constant THREAT at VATICAN
“I ask the Lord to say ‘enough’ at some point, but when he wants,” Pope Francis said.
Pontiffs have no claim to burial place — but since the death of St. Pope Pius X in 1914, all popes have been buried in the grotto beneath St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.
For centuries, St. Peter’s Basilica was the most common choice for enshrining dead popes, but many pontiffs have chosen churches or catacombs with which they have a more personal connection.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
The Basilica of Saint Mary Major has been a spiritual home for Pope Francis since the beginning of his term.
He has stopped at the Basilica before and after most major mission trips, as well as after each hospital stint.
The basilica, which dates back sixteen centuries, has the Salus Populi Romani — an ancient icon of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus believed to be from the 6th century.
Seven popes are currently buried in the basilica.