Shortly before Easter, concerns about Pope Francis are growing. After the 86-year-old was surprisingly taken to a hospital yesterday, believers all over the world prayed for the head of the Catholic Church.
Because of a respiratory infection, the pontiff has to stay in the Gemelli hospital in Rome for the time being – the Holy See initially did not want to predict how long. Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni only spoke of "a few days".
It is therefore unclear whether Francis can celebrate the upcoming Palm Sunday and then Holy Week and Easter Sunday - the most important days in the Catholic church year - in the Vatican. The Pope's appointments and audiences this Thursday and Friday have already been canceled, as reported by the media. According to Bruni, the Pope needs inpatient therapy in the hospital these days. However, an infection with the corona virus was ruled out.
Pope: Touched by wishes for recovery
According to consistent media reports, the Argentine also had problems in his heart, which he felt, among other things, after the general audience yesterday. His personal medical supervisor Massimiliano Strappetti then decided to go to the hospital. In addition to the diagnosis of the respiratory infection, tests did not yield any worrying findings, as the media said.
"Pope Francis is touched by the many messages he has received and is grateful for the closeness and prayer," said Bruni. A number of Christians wished the Pope a speedy recovery on social networks, for example. US President Joe Biden, who is a Catholic himself, called for prayers for Francis at a reception in the White House that evening. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, tweeted a post asking the faithful for prayers for a "speedy recovery" for the Holy Father.
A number of journalists and camera crews gathered at the Agostino Gemelli Polyclinic on Wednesday. In that hospital, in an extra-large room on the tenth floor, Pope John Paul II was treated several times, and there is a large statue of the Polish pope of the century in the forecourt.
Francis underwent bowel surgery at the clinic, which is part of the Pontifical University of Santa Croce, in the summer of 2021. At that time he spoke the Angelus prayer from a balcony of the hospital. He may now have to spend another Sunday in the clinic in north-west Rome.