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Pope says he’s thought about when it’s time to ‘take leave’

Pope Francis says he has thought about when it might be time to 'take leave' of his flock.

Pope Francis, flanked by Bishop Angelo De Donatis, delivers his speech during a meeting with the Roman diocese, at the Vatican Basilica of St. John at the Lateran, in Rome, Monday, May 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis says he has thought about when it might be time to “take leave” of his flock.

Francis made the comment during his morning homily Tuesday; the Vatican didn’t release the full text.

Francis was reflecting on St. Paul discerning when to leave his flock in the care of others, a decision Francis said all bishops must make.

He said: “When I read this, I think about myself, because I’m a bishop and I’ll have to take my leave.”

Francis has said retired Pope Benedict XVI “opened a door” to future popes by resigning. While the 81-year-old pope has said he didn’t envisage a long papacy, he hasn’t said explicitly if he’d retire.

Francis may have also been referring to Chilean bishops implicated in a sex abuse cover-up scandal.