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Pope wheeled up St Peter's instead of walking

Philip Pullella Reuters 10/17/2011 20:44
Pope wheeled up St Peter's instead of walking - Pope - Benedict XVI - religion

Pope Benedict was wheeled up the main aisle of St Peter's Basilica on a mobile platform at a ceremony on Sunday to spare him the unnecessary fatigue of walking, but the Vatican said there was no concern for his overall health.

The 84-year-old pontiff stood on the platform as aides pushed it up the central aisle, which is about 100 meters (yards) long.

Wearing green vestments, he blessed the faithful and then celebrated Mass from the main altar. He appeared to be in good health. He later used the same mobile platform to leave the basilica.

"This is just not to tire him," chief Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said. "Nothing else should be read into the general state of his health, which is good."

The platform, which has three steps and brass handles, was built to transport the late Pope John Paul during the last five years of his life.