LIFESTYLE

Pope Francis says he has no plans to retire: 'Never thought of quitting being pope'

  • Pope Francis show pictures of killed children during a meeting with the Scholas Occurrentes, an educational organization founded by the Pontiff, at the Vatican, Sunday, May 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

    Pope Francis show pictures of killed children during a meeting with the Scholas Occurrentes, an educational organization founded by the Pontiff, at the Vatican, Sunday, May 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)  (Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistribu)

  • Pope Francis meets actor George Clooney and his wife Amal, at a meeting with the Scholas Occurrentes, an educational organization founded by Pope Francis, at the Vatican, Sunday, May 29, 2016. (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool photo via AP)

    Pope Francis meets actor George Clooney and his wife Amal, at a meeting with the Scholas Occurrentes, an educational organization founded by Pope Francis, at the Vatican, Sunday, May 29, 2016. (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool photo via AP)  (@L'Osservatore Romano)

  • Pope Francis talks with US actor Richard Gere and his girlfriend, Alejandra Silva, at a meeting with the Scholas Occurrentes, an educational organization founded by Pope Francis, at the Vatican, Sunday, May 29, 2016. (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool photo via AP)

    Pope Francis talks with US actor Richard Gere and his girlfriend, Alejandra Silva, at a meeting with the Scholas Occurrentes, an educational organization founded by Pope Francis, at the Vatican, Sunday, May 29, 2016. (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool photo via AP)

Pope Francis says he’s not going anywhere any time soon.

The first Latin American pontiff, responding to a question from during a Vatican event, said on Sunday: “I never thought of quitting being pope, or of leaving because of the many responsibilities.”

Quitting the papacy was opened up as a possibility by Francis’ predecessor Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI.

The pope has previously said he envisioned a short papacy before going on "to the Father's house," but he has never specifically ruled out following in Benedict's footsteps. Benedict retired in 2013, the first pope to step down in 600 years.

The gathering on Sunday was part of the Scholar Occurentes global educational initiative that he launched.

Actors Richard Gere and George Clooney, who was accompanied by wife Amal, were honored for their contributions.

Mexican actress Salma Hayek was also honored and attended the event with her daughter Valentina and husband Francois-Henri Pinault.

Valentina, 8, also received a blessing and a kiss from Francis, which Hayek shared on her Instagram.

I can not love him more. No puedo amarlo más. #Pope #papa #love #family #familia #rome #roma #amor

A photo posted by Salma Hayek Pinault (@salmahayek) on

Other high-profile celebrities have met with Francis in the past, including Eva Longoria (and husband Jose Antonio Baston) and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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