Europe

Pope contemplates aging on 80th birthday

  • Pope Francis, right, flanked at right by Mons. Konrad Krajewski, celebrates his 80th birthday sharing a breakfast with homeless people before celebrating Mass with cardinals at the Vatican, Saturday Dec. 17, 2016. The Vatican said that the pope chatted early Saturday with each of the homeless guests, four Italians, two Romanians, a Moldovan, two Romanians and a Peruvian, and shared with them Argentinian cakes before heading to Mass.  (L'Osservatore Romano/pool photo via AP)

    Pope Francis, right, flanked at right by Mons. Konrad Krajewski, celebrates his 80th birthday sharing a breakfast with homeless people before celebrating Mass with cardinals at the Vatican, Saturday Dec. 17, 2016. The Vatican said that the pope chatted early Saturday with each of the homeless guests, four Italians, two Romanians, a Moldovan, two Romanians and a Peruvian, and shared with them Argentinian cakes before heading to Mass. (L'Osservatore Romano/pool photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pope Francis, right, celebrates mass in the Paoline Chapel at the Vatican on his 80th birthday, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016. (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)

    Pope Francis, right, celebrates mass in the Paoline Chapel at the Vatican on his 80th birthday, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016. (L'Osservatore Romano/ Pool photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pope Francis receives the President of Malta, Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, left, and her husband Edgar, right, during a private audience at the Vatican, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016. (Claudio Peri/ANSA Pool via AP)

    Pope Francis receives the President of Malta, Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, left, and her husband Edgar, right, during a private audience at the Vatican, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016. (Claudio Peri/ANSA Pool via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Pope Francis is celebrating an active if low-key 80th birthday, sharing breakfast with eight homeless people before celebrating Mass with cardinals.

The Vatican said that the pope chatted early Saturday with each of the homeless guests — four Italians, two Romanians, a Moldovan and a Peruvian — and shared with them Argentinian cakes before heading to Mass.

Speaking to the cardinals, he contemplated the aging process, telling them, "For some days now, I have had in mind a word that seems ugly: Old age, a thought that frightens." But then he recalled his words during his first papal greeting in 2013, when he said: "Old age is the thirst for knowledge."

To the cardinals he added: "I hope it will be the same for me."