Rome - He's suffering from degenerative arthrosis that's said to have affected his hips, ankles, toes and niece (sic).
Today Vatican medics let it be known they've prescribed medicinal marijuana to help ease His Holiness into the High Altar and - hopefully - stop him travelling to Colombia next year on yet another Pontifical dope run.
Last year the Pope said he might resign if he went so ga-ga that people no longer took him seriously, a move that frightened Vatican quacks into emergency handouts of the Holy Roman Thunderbolt strain of local cannabis sativa.
The arrival of a priceless 5th century BC bong from the Holy Land - a gift from the late Mr Cliff Richard - soon saw His Holiness light up after Evensong and puff his way to blissful oblivion, completely bypassing the tiresome nocturnal anti-psychotics that are usually dished out to octogenarian Primates.
Odds on Papa Ratzi resigning before Christmas had shrunk dramatically to 5/4fav.