Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pope's use of cane is nothing new, Vatican clarifies

Pope Benedict XVI's use of a cane during his trip to Mexico is not a new development or a sign of “debility,” according to the vice-director of the Vatican Press Office.

“It’s nothing new,” Fr. Ciro Benedettini told CNA, explaining that the Pope “uses the cane while passing through the Vatican Gardens.”

“At almost 85 years of age, it’s prudent for him to walk with a cane,” the Vatican spokesman noted. “There is no reason for alarm, nor anything new in reference to the Pope’s health.”

Fr. Benedettini's clarification came in response to a Reuters report that mentioned Pope Benedict's use of a cane to walk to the plane that would take him to Mexico on March 23.

On that occasion, the Pope used a black cane as he walked from the helicopter that took him to the airport, while conversing with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti.

Reuters, which has caused controversy over alleged inaccuracies in its past reporting on Pope Benedict's statements, claimed that the cane was “a symbol of his growing physical debility.”

The Holy Father boarded the plane without help, and used only the staircase railing.