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Degenerating leg joints prompted Pope to use rolling platform

November 09, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI opted to use a rolling platform during recent Vatican liturgical ceremonies because of a degenerative joint condition in his legs, according to the leading Vatican-watcher Andrea Tornielli.

In October, the Pope was pulled down the aisle of St. Peter’s basilica on a rolling platform. It was Pope Benedict’s first use of the device, which had been introduced at the Vatican when his predecessor, Blessed John Paul II, became unable to walk with assistance. The re-appearance of the platform prompted concerns about the Pope’s health, but Vatican spokesman said that the device was used only to save the energy of the aging Pontiff.

Now Tornielli—who has compiled a long record of accurate reporting on inside Vatican news—discloses that Pope Benedict suffers from arthrosis, a degenerative condition in the joints of his legs. The condition makes it painful for the Pope to walk long distances, and so the Pontiff suggested the use of the platform to help him manage the long center aisle of the Vatican basilica.

Pope Benedict, who is now 84 years old, has been visibly slowed in his stride for some months. He has occasionally used a cane in public, and reportedly uses it more regularly around the apostolic palace.


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  • Posted by: rpp - Nov. 09, 2011 6:29 PM ET USA

    As someone with chronic knee problems, common for many of us as we age, I can certainly sympathize. My prayers are with him.