Vatican: the pope will be hospitalized for several days for a lung infection

This immediately raised questions about Francis’ general health and his ability to celebrate the busy Holy Week events which are due to begin this weekend with Palm Sunday.

Bruni said Francis had been suffering from respiratory ailments for the past few days and had gone to Gemelli Hospital for tests.

“Tests showed a respiratory infection (Covid-19 infection excluded) which will require a few days of medical treatment,” Bruni’s statement said.

Francis appeared in relatively good shape at his scheduled general audience earlier on Wednesday, although he grimaced heavily as he entered and exited the Popemobile.

Francis had part of a lung removed when he was young due to a respiratory infection, and he often speaks in a low voice. But he weathered the worst phases of the Covid-19 pandemic without at least any public word of a positive test.

Francis was due to celebrate Palm Sunday this weekend, kicking off the Vatican’s Holy Week celebrations: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil and finally Easter Sunday on April 9. He canceled all hearings through Friday, but it was unclear. if he could hold the Holy Week plans.

Francis has been using a wheelchair for over a year due to strained ligaments in his right knee and a small broken knee. He said the injury was healing and has been walking more with a cane lately.

Francis also said he resisted surgery for knee problems because he did not respond well to general anesthesia during bowel surgery in 2021.

He said shortly after the operation that he made a full recovery and could eat normally. But in a Jan. 24 interview with The Associated Press, Francis said his diverticulosis, or bulges in the intestinal wall, had “come back.”


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