Following reports that he was preparing to retire due to his recent health issues and postponed engagements, a wheelchair-bound Pope Francis was seen being assisted to stand outside the Vatican on Wednesday.
After conducting his weekly audience with the public in St. Peter’s Square, the elderly 85-year-old was seen clutching onto two of his assistants as they assisted him out of his seat and back into his wheelchair.
Later on Wednesday, the Pope attended a different ceremony at the Vatican while still using his wheelchair.
It follows persistent speculations that Francis, who was chosen as pope in March 2013 and was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, was on the verge of stepping down due to deteriorating mobility concerns.
Since developing knee problems, the Pope, who was born in Argentina, has been used a wheelchair and cane.
After he was sent to the hospital in July of last year to have a portion of his colon removed, his health has reportedly been deteriorating.
He has recently been candid about his health issues, declaring just last week that senior people must accept their physical limits.
He delivered his general address stating “When we are old, we cannot do the same things we did when we were young: The body has another pace, and we must listen to the body and accept its limits. We all have them. I too have to use a walking stick now.”