A frail Pope Francis has canceled meetings as he battles a flu attack.
The 87-year-old was forced to cancel some of his activities in November due to breathing problems and concerns about his lungs.
This is not the first time that the pontiff has suffered lung problems.
After an operation to remove one of his lungs when he was younger and still in his native Argentina, Pope Francis has been plagued by health problems; the latter included a hospital stay last year.
When asked about his fragile health in a recent television interview, Pope Francis joked that “he’s still alive, you know.”
A frail Pope Francis has canceled meetings as he battles a flu attack (pictured) Francis arrives for his weekly audience on February 14, 2024
The 87-year-old was already forced to cancel some of his activities in November due to respiratory problems and concerns about his lungs.
When asked about his health in a recent interview, the Pope responded: “he’s still alive, you know.”
Despite his failing health, the Pope has no intention of retiring soon, but has made plans for a “simple funeral.”
The Catholic Church leader has been in and out of hospital for the past few years, spending three days in Rome’s Gemelli hospital in April last year battling bronchitis with intravenous antibiotics.
In 2021, the 87-year-old spent 10 days in hospital recovering from intestinal surgery for intestinal narrowing and was readmitted in June 2023 for an operation to repair an abdominal hernia and remove scars from his previous surgeries.
Taking into account his fragile health, he has already planned his funeral, choosing to be buried in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, which makes him the First pontiff buried outside the Vatican in more than a century.
Francis goes to the basilica to pray before the Salus populi Romani (‘Salvation of the people of Rome’), a Byzantine-style painting that features an image of Mary, wrapped in a blue robe, holding the baby Jesus, who in turn holds a jeweled gold book.
“It is my great devotion,” Francis said, adding that he had already decided he wanted to be buried near the basilica. “The place is already prepared.”
Many popes are buried in the crypts beneath St. Peter’s Basilica.
Despite his fragile health, the Pope has no intention of retiring anytime soon, but has made plans for a “simple funeral” (pictured). Francis arrives at an Ash Wednesday service in a wheelchair.
Francis has said he would be willing to resign – as Benedict did in 2013 – if his health worsened seriously.
The last Pope to be buried outside the Vatican was Leo XIII, who died in 1903 and is buried in the Basilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome.
Francis has said he would be willing to resign – as Benedict did in 2013 – if his health worsened extremely.
‘I ask the Lord to say enough is enough, at some point, but whenever he wants,’ he said.
But, he said, he also believes that papal resignations should not become the norm.
Pope Francis has previously asked for prayers as he deals with the limitations of old age.
“It is true that now all trips are rethought,” Francisco told N+. ‘If they are close, it can be done. If they are further away they reconsider. There are limits.’
Francis revealed that he has been working with the Vatican’s master of ceremonies, Archbishop Diego Ravelli, to simplify the elaborate, book-length funeral rites of a pope that have been used for his predecessors.
The pope, who turns 87 at the end of 2023, has eschewed much of the pomp and privilege of the Vatican and decided to greatly simplify the elaborate funeral rites.
Since his election in 2013, Francis has eschewed the fur-trimmed crimson ‘mozzetta’ or cape, and also does not wear a gold cross, but keeps the same faded silver one around his neck that he wore as archbishop of Buenos Aires. .
Nor has he worn the fancy red ‘fisherman shoes’ used by his predecessors. He has kept the same simple black shoes he always wore and wears a plastic watch, giving others away so he can auction them off for charity.