Pope Losing Ability to Walk

Vatican insiders say pontiff has degenerative joint disease
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 11, 2011 5:53 AM CST

(Newser) – Pope Benedict XVI is suffering from a degenerative joint disease that is making it more and more painful for him to walk, Vatican insiders say. The 84-year-old is believed to have arthrosis, and a source says it is afflicting his knees, hips, and ankles, making it impossible for him to move for more than short distances. At a recent mass, the pope—at his own request—was wheeled to the altar on a platform designed for his predecessor, Pope John Paul II.

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The pope has said he will resign if he becomes "physically, psychologically, and spiritually" incapable of handling the office. A Vatican spokesman, however, says the pope is in reasonably good shape for his age. "He is currently studying the possibility of going to Mexico and Cuba in the spring, which I think is rather more important,” the spokesman tells the Telegraph. “His state of health is fine and he is able to carry out his duties." (Read more Pope Benedict XVI stories.)

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