In Canada, Pope Francis’ “penitential pilgrimage” reveals his deteriorating health

Seated in a white armchair far behind the altar, Pope Francis, 85, would be difficult to see without the cameras for the 1,500 faithful who gathered at the Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré basilica on Thursday, July 28 been big fair organized near Quebec. The visit of the head of the Catholic Church to Canada from July 25-30 will remain the first during which the Argentine Pope was unable to celebrate the Eucharist himself.

François, unable to walk more than a few steps due to acute knee pain that has confined him to a wheelchair since early May, had to content himself with presiding and preaching. It was the same on Tuesday at the Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton (Alberta), where 50,000 Catholics came for him. In Quebec, he was also unable to walk up the aisle to the choir with the other celebrants before the ceremony, a moment generally loved by the faithful who can approach him in this way.

Also read: Article reserved for our subscribers Pope Francis asks for “pardon” for Catholic involvement in “devastating” indigenous policies in Canada

This first trip was a test of his form as his sore knee prevented him from walking. Since he had to cancel his visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and South Sudan on June 10, just three weeks before he was due to leave, some observers have speculated that he will soon be doing so due to health reasons. To put an end to the rumours, François multiplied the interviews in July.

An imminent resignation? “It never occurred to me. Currently not”although it remains an option, he told Reuters news agency. “Right now I don’t think the Lord is asking me. If the Lord asks me, yes”, he added for Mexican television. He said he was suffering from a “small fracture” Knees treated with laser and magnetic therapy, and he felt it “very limited” by this pathology.

repentance and repentance of the church

While he was reluctant to show himself in a wheelchair in the first few weeks, this was forced on him. During the trip, she even twice supplanted the originally planned popemobile – the open car, with which he covers a certain distance close to the crowd. Monday at Maskwacis, then Tuesday at Lac Sainte-Anne, allowed him to go head-on with the chiefs and “Oldest” of the First Nations being pushed by his butler.

In the end, it was not ill-suited for these gatherings, designed to express the church’s regret and contrition and its closeness to the diverse indigenous communities, all of whom suffered from the treatment of 150,000 of their children in community-run boarding schools. Catholics.

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Darren Pena

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