Shortly before his operation in the Gemelli Hospital in Rome, the Pope had shown himself to the public in the popemobile after his weekly general audience, as usual. "The stay at the facility will last several days to ensure normal post-operative care and full recovery," Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said.
As the AFP news agency learned, Francis arrived at the clinic in the late morning. After his operation, the Pope should therefore spend the night on the tenth floor of the hospital.
Francis suffered from a tissue fracture in the abdominal wall, a so-called hernia, which caused him "recurring, painful and worsening" symptoms, Bruni explained. The operation is a so-called laparotomy, in which the abdominal wall is opened.
On Tuesday morning, the head of the Catholic Church had already gone to the Gemelli hospital for "examinations". However, the Vatican had not provided any information on the nature of the investigations.
In July 2021, Francis had already been operated on at the Gemelli Clinic for diverticulitis, an inflammation of pockets that form in the intestinal mucosa. After ten days he was released.
The pope has been suffering from increasing health problems over the past year. He was confined to a wheelchair for most of the past year due to persistent pain in his right knee and sciatica.
At the end of March, Francis was hospitalized for three nights because of bronchitis, which could be treated with antibiotics. In an interview with the Spanish-language NBC television station Telemundo two weeks ago, however, he spoke of "pneumonia" that was treated "in good time". "If we had waited a few more hours it would have been a lot worse," he said.
Francis' state of health led to increased speculation about a possible resignation last year. Pope Francis last said in March that this was not up for debate. Despite his health problems, Francis has so far stuck to his travel plans: he wants to travel to Portugal at the beginning of August, to Mongolia at the beginning of September and to Marseille in France at the end of September.
Francis' predecessor Benedict XVI, who died on December 31, 2022 at the age of 95, made church history by resigning from office in 2013 due to ill health.