Pope Francis, 86, was unable to appear at the window overlooking St. Peter’s Square due to a reported “lung inflammation.” Instead, he sat in the chapel of his residence as an aide read his Sunday message to the gathered crowds.
Dressed in his customary white robes and with a bandage on his right hand, the Pope remained seated next to his aide throughout the reading. With a visible concern for his health, he addressed the crowd, “Dear brothers and sisters. Happy Sunday. Today, I cannot appear at the window because I have this problem of an inflammation in the lungs.”
The Vatican revealed that the Pope had undergone a scan on Saturday at a Rome hospital, ruling out lung complications following a bout of flu that had led to the cancellation of his activities. However, the Vatican provided no explanation for the apparent discrepancy between its Saturday statement and the Pope’s Sunday remarks.
It’s worth noting that a part of one of the Pope’s lungs was removed during his youth in Argentina. Despite this, the Pontiff has remained resilient in fulfilling his duties.
During the Sunday message, the Pope introduced Father Paolo Braida, who stepped in to read the Gospel on his behalf. Throughout the reading, Pope Francis could be seen coughing several times, indicating the severity of his condition.
Despite his health concerns, the Pope extended blessings and Father Braida continued with the rest of the message. This included appeals for peace in Ukraine, expressions of gratitude for the release of hostages in Gaza, and confirmation of the Pope’s intention to travel to Dubai on Friday for the U.N. climate change conference.
Closing the message in his customary manner, Pope Francis stated, “I wish everyone a good Sunday. Please do not forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and see you next time.”
Choosing to remain in the residence spared the Pope from braving the cold Roman morning, especially given his recent health issues. Typically, he would have needed to travel from the residence to the Apostolic Palace, involving a car journey, courtyard access, and an elevator ride to reach the window overlooking St. Peter’s Square.
The event was broadcast on giant screens for the crowds gathered in the square, ensuring that the faithful could still receive the Pope’s message. The broadcast was also made available through traditional television and internet channels.
This recent health setback comes on the heels of Pope Francis skipping a prepared speech earlier this month due to a cold. However, he appeared in good health during a subsequent meeting with children later that day. In June, the Pope underwent surgery for an abdominal hernia, spending nine days in the hospital. While he seems to have fully recovered from that operation, his current battle with lung inflammation raises concerns about his ongoing health.
As the faithful around the world join in prayer for Pope Francis’s recovery, the incident shows the Pope’s humanity and vulnerability, even as he continues to fulfill his spiritual duties.