Pope Francis hospitalized with respiratory infection

Vatican Pope
Pope Francis meets children at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 29, 2023. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino) Alessandra Tarantino/AP

Pope Francis hospitalized with respiratory infection

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Pope Francis will be hospitalized for several days with a lung infection after experiencing difficulty breathing over the last few days.

The pope, 86, was taken to the Gemelli Hospital in Rome on Wednesday after intending to conduct “some previously planned tests” at the same hospital, according to the Vatican. He does not have COVID-19, according to spokesman Matteo Bruni.

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Francis’s hospitalization comes as Holy Week celebrations and events are set to begin this weekend with Palm Sunday. He has canceled all audiences through Friday, but it is unknown if he will celebrate Holy Thursday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil, and Easter Sunday, according to the Associated Press.

His hospital stay also calls into question the status of his health. The last time the pope was hospitalized was in July 2021, undergoing a three-hour surgery that included a hemicolectomy, a surgery that removes the descending part of the colon and is recommended for treating diverticulitis.

After that surgery, the pope deflected questions about rumors that doctors had discovered cancer.

“They didn’t tell me about it. They didn’t tell me,” Francis said at the time.

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In January, the pope said he was in “good health” for his age but added that his diverticulitis had returned.

In December 2022, the pope revealed that he had written a resignation letter in case of any medical impairments prevented him from doing so in the future. Francis said Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who serves as the Vatican’s No. 2, presumably has the letter after inheriting the position from Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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