VATICAN -- Pope Francis has rebuffed suggestions he may be readying to resign, saying in an interview published Monday that rumors he was suffering from a serious illness were "court gossip".
"It never crossed my mind", Francis told Reuters news agency after weeks of speculation.
Pressed on whether he might emulate his predecessor Benedict XVI, who was the first pope since the middle ages to resign, the Argentine said "for the moment, no. For the moment, no. Really!"
But in the interview, which took place Saturday at the Vatican, he repeated his often-stated position that he might resign someday if failing health made it impossible for him to run the Church.
Asked when that might be, the 85-year old said: "We don't know. God will say."
Francis said he had suffered a "small fracture" in his knee, which was treated with laser and magnet therapy.
The knee pain forced him to indefinitely postpone a July trip to Africa.
He denied rumors that he had been diagnosed with stomach cancer during his colon operation in July 2021, saying it was merely "court gossip".
Francis will travel to Canada this month, after which he said he would like to travel to Moscow and Kyiv if possible.
The pontiff has repeatedly offered to help mediate in the war, saying he was hopeful for an invitation to visit Russian President Vladimir Putin following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February.