The Vatican has said that Pope Francis postponed a series of meetings due to lung inflammation and breathing difficulties.
The Director of the Vatican Press Office, Matteo Bruni, said on Monday, November 27, in an emailed statement that a CT scan ruled out pneumonia but added that doctors had inserted a cannula to provide antibiotics. The pope lost part of a lung following an illness some 50 years ago.
Pope Francis, who turns 87 next month, has battled ill health for years and has used a wheelchair in public.
“Francis, the first pope from the Americas, turns 87 next month and has battled ill health for years, cancelling multiple engagements and appearing in public in a wheelchair. The Pope’s condition is good and stable; he has no fever, and his respiratory situation is clearly improving,” the statement read.
Father Paolo Braida, a papal aide, read the pope’s normal Sunday message while Francis remained seated next to him. The pope sounded short of breath, coughed at one point, and appeared in poor health.
“Dear brothers and sisters, Happy Sunday. Today, I cannot appear at the window because I have this problem of inflammation in the lungs,” the Pope said in the statement.
Bruni said that some important engagements were postponed while those of an internal administrative nature or those easier to attend to would be fulfilled.
Pope Francis, however, yesterday received the president of Paraguay, Santiago Peña Palacios, and his entourage as his only engagement for the day at the Vatican, as was scheduled.
He postponed several commitments in the coming days in order to preserve his strength for a planned December 1–3, 2023, trip to Dubai for the COP-28 climate change summit.
The Vatican sent out an alert stating that the pope is scheduled to hold his general audience on Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. as usual. He is still expected to visit Dubai as planned.