Pope: I fell because I forgot there was step at altar's edge

Pope: I fell because I forgot there was step at altar’s edge

Pope: I fell because I forgot there was step at altar’s edge

FILE - In this July 28, 2016 file photo, Pope Francis is helped by Vatican Master of Ceremonies, Mons. Guido Marini as he stumbles on the altar during a mass in Czestochowa, Poland. Francis says the July 28 tumble happened this way: "I was watching (an image of) the Madonna, and I forgot the step." (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, File)

Pope Francis said of his public tumble on Thursday at a Polish shrine, "I let myself fall, and this saved me. Because if I tried to resist it, I would have gotten hurt." The pontiff was uninjured and complete all of the remaining events on his itinerary.

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (AP) — Pope Francis has explained why he took a tumble last week during a public Mass outdoors in public while on a pilgrimage.

Reporters aboard the papal plane flying him back to Rome after the five-day trip to Poland asked him Sunday night why he fell while sprinkling incense around the outdoor altar at the Jasna Gora monastery, in Czestochowa, before a huge crowd at Poland’s most popular Catholic shrine.

Francis says the July 28 tumble happened this way: “I was watching (an image of) the Madonna, and I forgot the step.”

He credited his reflect action with having him escape any injury.

“I let myself fall, and this saved me. Because if I tried to resist it, I would have gotten hurt.”

Vatican officials said Francis, 79, was uninjured, and the fall did not prevent Francis from performing any of his roles in the remaining events during his five-day trip to Poland to lead World Youth Day, a massive youth festival instituted by St. Pope John Paul II in 1987.

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