Pope Francis hospitalized with a respiratory infection, Vatican says

Pope Francis hospitalized with a respiratory infection, Vatican says

Pope Francis speaks at his general audience in St. Peter’s Square on March 29, 2023. VATICAN MEDIA

By Jonah McKeown

Catholic News Agency

March 30, 2023

VATICAN— Pope Francis will be hospitalized for “some days” after being diagnosed with a respiratory infection, the Vatican said Wednesday.

“In recent days Pope Francis has complained of some difficulty breathing and this afternoon went to [Gemelli Hospital] to carry out some medical tests. The results of these tests showed a respiratory infection (a COVID-19 infection was excluded) that will require some days of opportune medical treatment in the hospital,” Holy See Press Office Director Matteo Bruni said Wednesday evening.

“Pope Francis is touched by the many messages he received and expresses his gratitude for the closeness and prayer,” Bruni added.

Bruni had issued a brief statement earlier in the afternoon of March 29 to say the pope was at Gemelli Hospital “for some previously scheduled checkups.”

Gemelli is the same hospital where Pope Francis was hospitalized in July 2021 when he underwent surgery on his colon for diverticulitis, or inflammation of the intestinal wall.

In an interview with the Associated Press in January, Pope Francis disclosed that the diverticulitis had “returned.” At the time, the 86-year-old pontiff — who traveled to South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo in late January — insisted he was in relatively good condition.

The pope has also suffered since last year from a problem with his right knee, making it necessary for him to rely on a cane and a wheelchair to move around. But Francis told the AP that a fracture had healed without surgery after laser and magnet therapy.

As of Wednesday evening, the pope’s agenda for Thursday and Friday lists two meetings, one with teachers and students from the schools of the Oblate Sisters of the Child Jesus on Thursday, and the fifth Lenten sermon with the Roman Curia on Friday.

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