Is Pope Francis thinking about resigning?

POPE Francis has said he cannot see his papacy running for longer than four or five years.

Speaking in an interview with Mexican network Televisa, marking the second anniversary of his election, he said: "I have a feeling that my pontificate will be brief. Four of five years; I do not know, even two or three.

"I feel that the Lord has placed me here for a short time, and nothing more."

Referring to Pope Benedict XVI's decision to become the first pope to step down in 600 years in 2013 he claimed: "An institutional door has been opened."

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The pope has previously hinted that he could retire in the past but said that he was opposed to the idea of an age limit for leaders of the Catholic Church.

During the interview he said he "did not mind being pope" but longed for the anonymity associated with life as a priest.

"The only thing that I would like is to go out one day, without being recognised, and go to a pizzeria for a pizza."

Pope Francis has earned praise from diverse quarters for being a modernising force for the Catholic Church, earning awards such as Time Magazine Man of Year 2013 as well as gay rights magazine The Advocate's Person of the year in the same year.

In January he reportedly embraced a transgender man at the Vatican and told him that there is a place for him in the Catholic Church in another papal first.

He has also recently put up public showers and a barbershop for the homeless of Rome in the Vatican while also enabling a homeless man, who had lived on the streets around St. Peter's Cathedral, to be buried in a Vatican cemetery generally reserved for senior German clerics.