During a recent visit to Canada, many folks were shocked to see that Pope Francis arrived with an aide pushing his wheelchair.
So, why exactly is Francis using a wheelchair? More importantly, did something happen to him? Keep scrolling as we explain.
Why is Pope Francis using a wheelchair?
According to The Washington Post, Pope Francis started experiencing knee pains earlier in 2022. Nothing other than his old age of 85 has contributed to these pains.
At the time, he informed the paper it was “an inflamed ligament in the knee" and remained optimistic, as the condition is common amongst the elderly. However, in April, his knee was still giving him problems. The following month, he publicly debuted his wheelchair.
But despite not getting around on foot, the pope has continued to be his cheery self. As his aide was bringing him to the car during his visit to Canada, Francis asked if he could be wheeled over to the fence, so he could greet the folks waiting for him, per Reuters.
Does the pope plan to step down anytime soon?
While Pope Francis is still in solid shape for his age, his recent mobility issue — as well as a colon surgery he underwent last year— has led to some speculation as to whether or not he plans to step down anytime soon.
Especially given the fact that he has called for a consistory — or assembly of the church — to install 21 new cardinals in August 2022, the majority of which would be eligible to vote in a conclave. Some folks have reasoned that Pope Francis is strategically setting the church up for when he leaves and making sure he has a say in the officials who will pick his future successor.
But at the same time, it is usually the norm for popes to serve until death. While Pope Francis's predecessor, Pope Benedict, made history in 2013 when he chose to resign with good years ahead of him, it is unlikely that Francis will want to continue this new modern tradition.
As one senior Vatican official told The Washington Post, “His [health] situation isn’t brilliant, but it’s not enough to impose a resignation.”