Pope Francis used a wheelchair to enter a public audience for the first time.
The Pope was wheeled on stage before a meeting with the superiors of women’s religious congregations and helped into his seat by an aide.
Before Thursday, Pope Francis had visibly struggled to walk during his public engagements. Before his General Audience, he made his way to his seat from the popemobile with assistance.
And just days before that, he made the walk from the edge of the stage to his seat at center stage of the Paul VI Audience Hall, although there he revealed to pilgrims that his doctor advised him not to walk.
The doctor told me not to walk. I like walking around, but this time I have to obey the doctor.
It is the first time Pope Francis has been seen using a wheelchair since he recovered from colon surgery last July.
The Vatican has indicated that the Pope may have been using a wheelchair to get around without walking in recent days, but that no changes in his schedule are anticipated.