Pope Francis, feverish, canceled his program Friday morning

Pope Francis, 86, canceled his appointments on Friday morning due to a feverish state, the Vatican said amid regular concerns about the health of the Argentine pontiff. “Due to a feverish state, Pope Francis did not receive an audience this morning,” said Holy See spokesman Matteo Bruni, without specifying what the Argentine pope’s planned program was in the morning. This announcement comes two months after the pope was hospitalized in Rome due to pneumonia, from which he emerged after three days following a course of antibiotics.

Jorge Bergoglio said Thursday in an interview with Spanish-language television Telemundo that this pneumonia had been treated “in time”. “If we had waited a few more hours, it would have been much more serious,” he said. As for his knee pain, which forces him to move around in a wheelchair or using a cane, he said he felt “much better”. “Some days are more painful than others, like today, but that’s part of the recovery,” he said. Asked about his health at the end of April, on returning from a trip to Hungary, the pope had announced his intention to continue to travel: he must go to Lisbon from August 2 to 6 for World Youth Day (WYD) then in Marseilles in September, as well as in Mongolia.

The head of the Catholic Church maintains a steady pace

The pope usually receives his interlocutors, associations, religious, heads of state, in the morning at the Vatican for official audiences during which he regularly delivers speeches, while his afternoons are devoted to work and his private meetings. Despite his advanced age, the head of the Catholic Church maintains a steady pace in his appointments, sometimes receiving a dozen interlocutors in a morning. On Thursday, he spoke in particular to nuns, to the Italian episcopal conference and to a group of young people from the Scholas Occurrentes educational network.

The health of Jorge Bergoglio, elected in 2013, regularly fuels speculation about the possibility of a renunciation of his office and his succession. He has repeatedly said he would consider resigning, like his predecessor Benedict XVI, who died in December, if his health were to fail, but he recently claimed that was not on the table. In July 2021, the bishop of Rome had already been hospitalized for 10 days for a heavy colon operation. He claims to have kept “after-effects” of anesthesia, which have pushed him to rule out knee surgery so far.

During an interview in January, Jorge Bergoglio confided again to suffer from diverticulitis, an inflammation of the diverticula, hernias or pockets which form on the walls of the digestive system. The pope is constantly monitored by a team of caregivers, both in the Vatican and during his trips abroad. A precaution all the more necessary since he has a heavy medical history behind him: at the age of 21, he had suffered from acute pleurisy and the surgeons had proceeded to the partial ablation of his right lung.

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