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As rumors circulate that Pope Francis is preparing to retire, Vatican City is attracting global interest.

According to a report, rumors of the Catholic Church's 85-year-old leader's resignation are gathering steam in the wake of a series of out-of-character actions.

Pope Francis, who has been in a wheelchair for months because of terrible knee pain, has postponed an African trip.

This would make Francis the second successive Roman Catholic leader to resign while still alive.

He is also rumored to have asked for a cardinals' meeting cannot confirm. This highly unusual meeting is fueling resignation speculations, according to the report.

The Argentine-born pontiff has been forced to cancel long-planned visits, and some believe his schedule for the upcoming years indicates he is considering following Benedict's example.

Francis, was elected in 2013 in the aftermath of Benedict's surprise resignation, abruptly ending an eight-year papacy as Benedict announced he was too sick to carry out his duties.

British bookies OLBG have assigned Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle 5/1 chances to become the next pope.

Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson, who has been assigned odds of 6/1, is also a strong contender to succeed Francis.

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