Ill Pope cancels public appearances

The Vatican denies Pope Francis has the Coronavirus, calling it a “slight indisposition”.

Pope Francis fell sick in Rome — a day after publically shaking pilgrim’s hands and kissing babies; his usual practice.

Since then he has cancelled several public appearances including three larger audiences with groups but has continued private audiences.

On Sunday Francis appeared at his study window on this cold and windy Sunday to greet and pray with pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square.

The Sunday appearance is the first people have seen of Francis in four days.

Observers say Francis spoke with a strong clear voice, but at paused twice in order to compose himself.

Addressing the pilgrims he said, “I ask a remembrance in your prayers for the Spiritual Exercises of the Roman Curia that will begin this evening at Ariccia.

“Unfortunately, a cold obliges me to not participate this year, but I will follow the exercises from here.

“I will unite myself spiritually to the [Roman] Curia, and to all persons that are living moments of prayers, by doing the spiritual exercises at home.”

The Vatican released a photo of his meeting with His Beatitude Svistoslav Shevchuk, the Major Archbishop of the Greek Catholic church in the Ukraine. The pope has known the archbishop from his days in Buenos Aires.

The pope also held his weekly Saturday morning meeting with Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

Francis also gave private audiences to two nuncios: Archbishop Celestino Migliore, whom he recently appointed as nuncio in France, and Archbishop Joseph Spiteri, the nuncio in the Lebanon, a country that is in a difficult situation.

Francis is missing a part of one lung. It was removed when he was in his early 20s in his native Buenos Aires after he suffered from tuberculosis.

He also suffers some leg pain due to sciatica, for which he undergoes regular physical therapy and which explains his occasional difficulty climbing steps.

But Francis is in generally good health and has been able to endure about four tiring international trips each year since his election in 2013.

According to Worldometer, with 2036 cases Italy is the third-ranked country with confirmed Coronavirus cases. China and South Korea have more cases than Italy and Iran is in 4th place.

The Vatican refuses to say whether he has been tested for the Coronavirus.



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