ROME - Pope Francis recently joked with seminarians about needing some alcohol to deal with severe pain in his knee. He recently cancelled a foreign trip because of the ailment, sparking speculation about his declining health.
Pope Francis has been suffering from pain in his right knee due to strained ligaments in recent weeks which has also forced him to use a wheelchair on more than one occasion. Doctors have also prescribed physical therapy to help him with his ailment.
Pope Francis arrives in St. Peter's Square on the occasion of the weekly general audience at the Vatican, May 18, 2022.
But following his general audience this week, he seemed to think there was something else that could help him with his pain.
He was riding on his popemobile at the end of the audience when some Mexican seminarians shouted out to him asking him how he was doing with his knee. The exchange between the pope and the seminarians went viral when Francis said he could use some tequila to deal with his knee pain.
The seminarians asked him in his native Spanish how his knee was doing, and Francis responded it was "capricious."
The pope said: "Do you know what I need for my knee? A little tequila." The Mexicans laughed heartily and promised to bring Pope Francis a bottle of the potent liquor - considered Mexico's national drink - the next time they pay a visit to the Santa Marta house in the Vatican where Francis lives.
FILE - Pope Francis arrives in a wheelchair to attend an audience with nuns and religious superiors in the Paul VI Hall at The Vatican, May 5, 2022.
The faithful saw the pope limping badly when he was presiding at ceremonies recently for the Easter festivities. He uses a cane to walk.
There have been concerns that at 85-years of age the pope's health is not what it used to be when he was elected more than nine years ago. But close advisers have rejected any speculation that the pope is generally unwell.
Argentine Bishop Victor Manuel Fernandez from La Plata met with the pope on May 14 and later tweeted: "He's in very good health and the same lucid reflection as always."
Pope Francis has a busy travel schedule for the remainder of this year with confirmed trips to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan in early July and a separate trip to Canada later the same month.
Still, doubts have persisted after he recently cancelled a planned two-day trip to Lebanon in June due to his knee problem.