VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Benedict will reduce his activity at this week’s Good Friday procession by watching most of the service from a vantage point instead of walking around Rome’s ancient Colosseum, a spokesman said on Tuesday. [Entirely understandable. What a slog that is, and he, an octogenarian, has a lot to do in these days!]
Rev. Federico Lombardi confirmed the change, reported earlier on Tuesday by the French religious news agency I-Media.
Lombardi said there were no worries about the health of the pope, who will turn 81 during his trip to the United States in April.
"It is reasonable that he would want to conserve his energy," Lombardi said in response to a question.
Instead of walking around the Colosseum for all 14 of the "stations of the cross" as he did in previous years, the pope will watch most of the event from Rome’s nearby Palatine hill. [Where he wil engage in Zen Meditation.]
Benedict is expected to walk the procession only for the last three "stations". The 14 stations commemorate the events between Christ being condemned to death and his burial.
Since his election in 2005, the pope has reduced papal activities and delegated a number of events, such as beatification Masses, to his top aides.
No other changes in the pope’s hectic schedule in the four days from Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday were planned.
Benedict was 78 when he was elected, whereas his predecessor John Paul II was 58 at the time of his election in 1978.
(Reporting by Philip Pullella; editing by Sami Aboudi)
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