Pope Francis Hospitalized with Respiratory Infection

The Vatican announced on Wednesday that Pope Francis, aged 86, will be hospitalized for a respiratory infection for a few days.


The Pope had been experiencing respiratory difficulties and was admitted to the Policlinico A. Gemelli hospital in Rome, where popes are usually treated. Tests confirmed the respiratory infection, but excluded COVID-19. Pope Francis is expected to receive appropriate hospital medical therapy during his stay.

The Vatican spokesman, Matteo Bruni, said that the Pope is grateful for the many messages of closeness and prayer that he has received. Meanwhile, bishops in churches across Italy are praying for his speedy recovery.

The pontiff has a history of medical issues, having suffered from severe pneumonia as a young man and part of his lung removed. He also experiences pain in his right knee, often using a walking stick and a wheelchair. Last year, he canceled a trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan due to the knee pain. In 2021, he underwent surgery to remove part of his colon due to diverticulitis, a common condition.

In a surprising revelation, the Pope disclosed in December that he had already signed his resignation letter in case he became “impaired.” He stated that he had written the letter several years ago and gave it to then-Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who resigned in 2013. Past pontiffs, Paul VI and Pius XII, had also drafted their letters of renunciation in the event of a permanent impairment.

Pope Benedict XVI, Francis’ immediate predecessor, made history in 2013 by resigning from his position due to “advanced age,” marking the first time a pope had stepped down in nearly 600 years. The last pope to step down before his death was Gregory XII in 1415.

The hospitalization of Pope Francis has sparked concerns for his health and well-being, and many are praying for his speedy recovery. The Vatican has not released any further information on the Pope’s condition but has assured the public that appropriate medical care is being provided.

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