Pope Francis ‘improving’ in hospital after quiet night, Vatican says
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ROME — Pope Francis is “progressively improving” after he spent the night in a Rome hospital where he was diagnosed with a respiratory infection, the Vatican said Thursday.
The pontiff, 86, had “rested well overnight” and resumed work, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said in a statement.
“The clinical picture is progressively improving and he is continuing his planned treatment,” Bruni said. “This morning after having breakfast, he read some newspapers and resumed work.”
He added that the pope had also “gathered in prayer and received the Eucharist.”
Francis was taken to the Gemelli hospital after complaining of breathing difficulties, the Vatican said Wednesday, adding that he would spend a few days there.
Francis’ audiences through Friday were canceled, raising questions about the pope’s participation in the Vatican’s Holy Week activities and about his health in general.
A tweet from Francis’ account on Thursday said that the pope was “touched by the many messages received.”
Francis had part of one lung removed when he was a young man due to a respiratory infection, and often speaks in a whisper.
He spent 10 days at the Gemelli hospital following 2021 surgery for an intestinal narrowing, which included the removal of 13 inches of his colon.
Francis is due to celebrate Palm Sunday this weekend, kicking off the Vatican’s Holy Week observances: Holy Thursday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil and finally Easter Sunday on April 9.
He has used a wheelchair for over a year due to strained ligaments in his right knee and a small knee fracture. He has said the injury was healing and been walking more with a cane of late.
Francis also has said he resisted having surgery for the knee problems because he didn’t respond well to the general anesthesia during the 2021 intestinal surgery.
He said soon after the surgery that he had recovered fully and could eat normally. But in a January interview with The Associated Press, Francis said his diverticulosis, or bulges in the intestinal wall, had “returned.”
Claudio Lavanga reported from Rome, and Henry Austin from London.