Pope recuperating, to miss Angelus prayer: doctor

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jun 10 2023 09:15 PM

Pope Francis gets on the popemobile as he leaves at the end of the weekly general audience in Saint Peter's Square, Vatican City, June 7, 2023. Ettore Ferrari, EPA-EFE

ROME, Italy -- Pope Francis is recovering well from a hernia operation but will not appear in public for Sunday's Angelus prayer, his doctor said on Saturday.

Francis underwent a three-hour operation at the Gemelli hospital in Rome on Wednesday, the latest health procedure for the 86-year-old leader of the Catholic Church.

All papal audiences have been cancelled until June 18 to give the pontiff time to recover, but the pope resumed work from his hospital room on Friday.

"He doesn't have a fever, all cardio-respiratory functions are normal," Sergio Alfieri, the surgeon who operated on the pontiff, told the press on Saturday.

But doctors have recommended skipping the public Angelus prayer to avoid putting stress on abdominal muscles, which would be required to appear at the window of his hospital room.

"Generally, after an operation like this, one is hospitalized for four-five days," Alfieri said.

"We hope to convince him to stay all of next week as such a hospital stay will allow him to return to work with more strength and security."

But Francis will ultimately decide when to be discharged, he said.

Francis was suffering from a hernia on the site of a scar from a previous surgery. Wednesday's operation saw him placed under general anesthesia as the abdominal wall was repaired with a surgical mesh.

In March, he spent three nights in Gemelli being treated with antibiotics for a respiratory infection.

In July 2021, he underwent surgery for a type of diverticulitis, an inflammation of small bulges or pockets that can develop in the lining of the intestine, spending 10 days in hospital.

Francis has been head of the worldwide Catholic Church since 2013, when his predecessor Benedict XVI became the first pope since the Middle Ages to resign, citing his failing mental and physical health.

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