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Pope Francis: Vatican Confirms Gradual Improvement after Respiratory Scare


Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni confirmed that Pope Francis, 86, has been making progress in his treatment, following his hospitalization due to breathing difficulties earlier this week.


Bruni stated that the pope had “rested well overnight” and resumed his work. He further added that the pontiff’s clinical picture is progressively improving and he is continuing with his planned treatment.

The pope was taken to the Gemelli hospital on Wednesday, after complaining of breathing difficulties. He had cancelled his audiences through Friday, leading to questions about his participation in the Vatican’s Holy Week activities and his overall health.

However, the latest update from the Vatican is reassuring, suggesting that the pope is on the road to recovery.

“I am touched by the many messages received in these hours and I express my gratitude for the closeness and prayer,” the Pope tweeted.

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A person with direct knowledge told the BBC that his closest staff, including security, are expected to spend the night at the Gemelli Hospital.

This is Pope Francis’ busiest time of year, with numerous events and services planned ahead of Easter weekend.

This weekend’s Palm Sunday Mass will be followed by Holy Week and Easter celebrations the following week.

He also plans to visit Hungary at the end of April.

He presided over his weekly general audience in St Peter’s Square on Wednesday morning. He seemed to be in good spirits, but he was seen grimacing as he was assisted into his vehicle.

The Vatican initially stated that the Pope had gone to the hospital for a routine check-up, but Italian media have questioned this account after a television interview was abruptly cancelled.

Read Also: Pope Francis Celebrates Colourful Mass in DR Congo

In response to the news, President Joe Biden requested that people say an “extra prayer” for the Pope’s recovery.

Mr Biden, the country’s only Roman Catholic president, also called Pope Francis one of the “most Christ-like figures I’ve ever met.”

People in the Pope’s hometown of Buenos Aires, Argentina, expressed their feelings to the news agency Reuters. According to Daniel Saco, the pontiff “must ask himself whether he can continue.”

“It is very sad because, as a Latin American, I feel represented by this Pope, who is very open-minded and human,” said Brazilian-born Victoria Veira.

Anibal Pizzelle, who met Francis when he was bishop of Buenos Aires, said she was optimistic about his recovery because he was “physically and mentally strong” and a “person of enormous faith.”

Because of knee mobility issues, the Pope has been using a wheelchair in recent months.

In 2021, he also had surgery to treat a colon problem. He stated that the condition had returned in January.

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Despite his ailments, Pope Francis has remained active and has travelled abroad. In February, he travelled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan.

In January, the Pope presided over the funeral of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, who was the first pope in centuries to resign voluntarily. He claimed it was because of his health.

In the event that Benedict’s health deteriorates, Pope Francis has previously indicated that he may wish to follow in Benedict’s footsteps.


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