World

Pope says he’s ‘much better’ after bout of bronchitis

Pope Francis attends his weekly general audience in the Pope Paul VI hall at the Vatican (AP)
Pope Francis attends his weekly general audience in the Pope Paul VI hall at the Vatican (AP) Pope Francis attends his weekly general audience in the Pope Paul VI hall at the Vatican (AP)

The Pope has said he is feeling “much better” after a two-week bout of bronchitis – but again asked an aide to read his remarks.

Francis, who had part of one lung removed as a young man, told his weekly general audience that he still gets tired if he speaks too much.

Francis, who turns 87 on December 17, came down with the flu on November 25 and was forced to cancel a planned trip to Dubai to participate in the UN climate conference.

He later revealed he had been diagnosed with an acute case of infectious bronchitis that made breathing difficult.

The Pope
The Pope An aide read the Pope’s remarks for him, as he recovers from a bout of flu (AP)

It marks the second time this year he has had a serious case of bronchitis. In spring, Francis was in hospital for three days to receive intravenous antibiotics.

Francis walked onto the stage of the Vatican audience hall with his cane and smiled broadly at the cheering crowd. He appeared in good spirits and received several prelates who came to speak to him individually at the end of the audience.

Explaining why he would ask his aide to read his remarks, he said: “I’m much better, but I get tired if I speak too much.”

Francis then made a brief appeal asking for prayers for all those who are suffering from war, including people in Ukraine, Israel and Gaza.

“War is always a defeat,” he said. “No-one wins, everyone loses. The only ones who win are the weapons makers.”

The Pope
The Pope The Pope took part in his customary weekly blessing (AP)

To spare him from temperature changes that might aggravate his condition, Francis has delivered his weekly Sunday blessing for the past two weekends from the Vatican chapel rather than the open window of his studio overlooking St Peter’s Square.

Nevertheless, the Vatican has confirmed Francis would participate in his annual visit to pray before a statue of the Virgin Mary at Rome’s Piazza di Spagna on Friday to mark an important Catholic feast day and officially kick off the Christmas season in Rome.

The Vatican said Francis is also planning to add on a visit that day, the Immaculate Conception, to Rome’s St Mary Major basilica to pray before one of his favourite icons of Mary.