Pope Francis has lung inflammation, but commits to Dubai visit for COP28


Pope Francis on Sunday revealed that he has a lung inflammation but will go later this week to Dubai to address the climate change conference.

Francis skipped his weekly Sunday appearance at a window overlooking St Peter’s Square, a day after the Vatican said he was suffering from a mild flu. Instead, Francis gave the traditional noon blessing in an appearance televised live from the chapel in the Vatican hotel where he lives.

“Brothers and sisters, happy Sunday. Today I cannot appear at the window because I have this problem of inflammation of the lungs,” Francis said. The pontiff, whose 87th birthday is next month, added that a priest, sitting beside him, would read out his day’s reflections for him.

Pope Francis (right) and Monsignor Paolo Braida (left) during the Angelus prayer from the chapel of Casa Santa Marta at the Vatican City on November 26. Photo: EPA-EFE
In those comments, Francis said he was going to the United Arab Emirates for the COP28 gathering on climate change and that he would deliver his speech, as scheduled, on Saturday to the participants.

“Besides war, our world is threatened by another great peril, that of climate change, which puts at risk life on Earth, especially for future generations,” the pontiff said in the words read by the priest.

“I thank all who will accompany this voyage with prayer and with the commitment to take to heart the safeguarding of the common house,” the pontiff said, using his term for Earth.

In the footage, it could be seen that the pope had a bandage on his right hand and what appeared to be a cannula. The Vatican did not immediately respond to a query from the AP about whether he was receiving intravenous or some other treatment.

The faithful gathering at St Peter’s Square to listen to Pope Francis. Photo: EPA-EFE

Not immediately explained was the discrepancy between the pope saying he has lung inflammation and the Vatican saying a day earlier that Francis had a CT scan at a Rome hospital “to exclude the risk of pulmonary complications” and that the exam was negative.

Francis earlier this year was hospitalised for three days for what he later said was pneumonia and what the Vatican described as a case of bronchitis, necessitating treatment with intravenous antibiotics.

This weekend has been very windy and unusually chilly for late autumn in Rome.

The pontiff’s voice dipped low, and at times he seemed almost breathless in his brief introductory remarks explaining why he did not make the window appearance, and at the end when he added his usual request to “don’t forget to pray for me”.


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