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Pope Francis ‘improves’ after night in hospital with shortness of breath

The Argentine pontiff, who earlier this month marked 10 years as head of the Catholic Church, has suffered from a number of health problems throughout his life, including having to have an amputation. part of a lung at the age of 21.

While keeping a busy schedule and traveling extensively, he has been confined to a wheelchair for the past year due to knee pain and admitted last summer that he had to slow down.

His admission to the hospital has raised widespread concern, especially after unconfirmed reports that he had arrived by ambulance.

Pope Francis was forced to cancel engagements on Thursday, and there are now questions about his presence at services for Holy Week and the upcoming Easter, the most important periods in the Christian calendar. teacher.

Preparations are already underway at the Vatican for Palm Sunday celebrations this weekend.


During his weekly audience on Wednesday morning, just hours before his admission, the Holy Father appeared cheerfully, smiling as he greeted the faithful from his “popemobile”.

But he was captured wincing as he was helped into the car – a picture that appeared all over the front pages of major Italian newspapers on Thursday.

The news of the Pope’s hospitalization has made global headlines and sparked the prayers of many of the estimated 1.3 billion Catholics worldwide – including the President of the United States. Joe Biden.

Biden, the second Catholic president in US history, urged those attending the White House reception to “pray more” for the pope.

His health is also a concern of visitors to the Vatican on Thursday.

Tina Montalbano, a 60-year-old tour guide, said: “There is always fear, but everything seems to be calm until now.

“I hope he recovers soon and can celebrate Easter here at St Peter’s.”

In July 2021, Pope Francis was admitted to the same hospital in Rome for 10 days for colon surgery after suffering from a type of diverticulitis, an inflammation of the pouch that develops in the lining of the intestines.

In an interview in January, the pope said diverticulitis had returned.

In 1957, at the age of 21, Pope Francis had part of his lung removed, but he says he has made a full recovery.


Pope Francis has repeatedly said he would consider resigning if his health required it, following the example of his predecessor Benedict XVI.

The German theologian, who died on December 31, shocked the world in 2013 when he became the first pope to resign since the Middle Ages.

However, Pope Francis has warned that papal resignations are not unusual, and said in an interview in February that the idea is not currently on “my agenda”.

Despite health problems and advanced age, Pope Francis – a Jesuit who seems happiest in the midst of his flock – continues to travel internationally.

Earlier this year, he visited South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, drawing large crowds.

Next month, he will visit Hungary and meet Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Over the past decade, Pope Francis has sought to project an image of a more open, compassionate Church, despite internal opposition, especially from conservatives.

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