According to the Vatican, Pope Francis was hospitalized in Rome and had to cancel two days of events to undergo scheduled testing and a checkup, as stated by Holy See Press Office Director, Matteo Bruni, on Wednesday.
Later, the Vatican clarified that the Pope required several days of treatment for a respiratory infection after experiencing breathing difficulties.
It was revealed that Francis had pleurisy (inflammation of the lungs) and had a section of one lung removed when he was younger.
“The tests showed a respiratory infection (COVID-19 infection excluded) that will require some days of medical treatment in the hospital,” Bruni later said.
In July 2021, Pope Francis was admitted to Gemelli University Hospital to address inflammation of the colon, resulting in the removal of over a foot of intestine. However, the Pope informed the Associated Press in January 2023 that his condition, diverticulosis, had resurfaced.
“I’m in good health. For my age, I’m normal,” the 86-year-old said before traveling to South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo after the interview. He is set to visit Hungary in April.
Prior to his hospitalization, the Pope canceled his scheduled audiences until Friday, and it remains unclear if he will be able to participate in the Palm Sunday events, as well as the upcoming Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter.
During his regular general audience on Wednesday, before being admitted to the hospital, Francis experienced difficulty entering and exiting the “popemobile,” requiring assistance. Additionally, he has been using a cane and a wheelchair regularly since fracturing his right knee in 2022.
The Pope has previously stated that he would follow in the footsteps of his predecessor, Pope Benedict, and resign from his position if his health impedes his ability to perform his duties.