According to an announcement made by The Vatican, the 86-year-old pope was admitted to a hospital in Rome for medical attention related to a respiratory infection.
The Vatican stated on Wednesday that Pope Francis will require hospitalization for a few days in order to receive treatment for a respiratory infection. This news has caused concern about the Pope’s well-being, given that he is 86 years old and has faced several health issues in recent times.
“In recent days Pope Francis complained of some respiratory difficulties, and this afternoon he went to Policlinico A. Gemelli for some medical checks,” the Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said in a statement, referring to the Rome hospital that traditionally treats popes. “The outcome of these showed a respiratory infection (excluding Covid-19 infection) that will require several days of appropriate hospital medical treatment.”
He added, “Pope Francis is touched by the many messages received and expresses his gratitude for the closeness and prayer.”
Pope Francis, who overcame severe pneumonia in his youth and underwent lung surgery, was rushed to Gemelli hospital for a chest CT scan and other tests after his morning audience. ANSA reports that his companions were “relieved” after the medical check-up, which showed that his blood oxygen saturation was normal. The Vatican had earlier declared that the hospital visit had been scheduled.
“The Holy Father has since this afternoon been at the Gemelli for some previously planned tests,” Mr. Bruni had said.
His schedule for Thursday has since been cleared, according to CNN.
The pope’s hospitalization comes as the Catholic Church prepares for one of its biggest holidays: Easter.
As per the BBC, he is slated to conduct a Palm Sunday Mass during the weekend, followed by several Easter celebrations and a visit to Hungary in April.
Having taken up the mantle of Pope 10 years ago, Francis now contends with knee difficulties and sciatica, which have given rise to a pronounced limp and necessitated frequent use of a wheelchair in recent times. Additionally, in the summer of 2021, he underwent significant surgery on his intestines.
At the start of his papacy, Francis expressed a desire to serve only a short period and has since reiterated that he would step down if his declining health made it impracticable to lead the Church. Initially, he praised Benedict XVI, the first pope in almost six centuries to resign, for his bravery in stepping down.
However, after his 2021 surgery, Francis revealed in an interview with a Spanish radio station that he had never pondered quitting due to ill health. More recently, he expressed that his role as Pope was a lifelong undertaking.
Prayers and concerns rise for the pontiff’s health as people tweet on Twitter to pray for Pope’s speedy recovery.
Let’s pray for Pope Francis’s recovery from his respiratory infection, which has landed him in the hospital for a few days. Please pray to Our Lady of Lourdes for the Holy Father’s swift and easy recovery.
— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) March 29, 2023
Last July, the Pope, who occasionally employs a wheelchair and postponed a trip last year owing to knee issues, informed journalists that he had never entertained the notion of stepping down until after a week-long work trip to Canada, stating that the appointment of new Popes “is not a catastrophe.”
“I either need to save myself a little in order to continue serving the Church, or I need to consider the possibility of stepping aside,” he said at the time.