November 26, 2023

Flu forces Pope Francis to cancel Saturday audiences

Catholic faithful the world over were set on edge over the weekend amid news that Pope Francis had cancelled audiences scheduled to be held on Saturday morning as the result of a mild fever, as the Washington Times reported.

The Vatican announced the worrisome development in a statement that read “The Holy Father's audiences scheduled for this morning are canceled due to a mild flu.”

Pope receives medical checkup

Later on Saturday, according to the Associated Press, Pope Francis was taken to Rome's Gemelli hospital for precautionary testing after his fever was identified.

The Vatican later reported that the test results ruled out the emergency of any respiratory concerns, however.

Matteo Bruni, a Vatican spokesman, indicated that Pope Francis underwent a CAT scan, which is not entirely surprising, given that in his younger years, he had a portion of one lung removed and has since suffered occasional bouts with respiratory issues.

History of health woes

In March of this year, Pope Francis was taken by ambulance to the same hospital in Rome after experiencing breathing difficulties, as Reuters noted at the time.

Testing performed after his arrival revealed the existence of a non-COVID-19 respiratory infection which required hospitalization for a few days.

The worsening of Pope Francis' health woes in recent years prompted the pontiff to publicly float the possibility that he might step aside from his duties if his condition declined to a certain point.

Pope Francis has been seen using a wheelchair at times due to mobility issues stemming from knee problems for which he has declined surgical intervention.

The pontiff also underwent colon surgery in 2021 to tackle ongoing issues with diverticulitis, making his health situation all the more precarious.

The aforementioned absence of part of one of his lungs also leaves Pope Francis susceptible to respiratory complications, though none appeared to develop due to his latest bout of fever.

Catholics across the globe are surely holding Pope Francis in their prayers as he recovers from what fortunately appears to be a mild illness and continues in his role for as long as his health permits.

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