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Pope plows forward with schedule despite first appearance in wheelchair

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Pope plows forward with schedule despite first appearance in wheelchair

ROME – For the first time, Pope Francis was seen in public being transported in a wheelchair to an audience with the leaders of women’s religious communities on Thursday, which the Vatican ascribed to his recent difficulties with knee pain.

In each of the two papacies prior to Francis – John Paul II and Benedict XVI – difficulties with physical movement became an increasing part of the narrative in terms of how those popes were seen by the public.

While rumors have circulated in recent weeks about the possibility that Pope Francis, who has extreme difficulty walking, might require surgery to solve his knee problem, the Vatican press office said that for the time being, it is not a question of surgery, but treatment with “infiltrations.”

After Pope Francis was wheeled into his meeting with members of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG), the Vatican Press Office said that “due to the knee pain, doctors have advised him to rest his limb.”

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