Continuing recovery, pope to skip public Angelus prayer - Catholic Courier
A cross is seen in the lobby of Rome's Gemelli hospital A cross is seen in the lobby of Rome's Gemelli hospital June 10, 2023, where Pope Francis is recovering from a June 7 surgery for a hernia. (CNS photo by Lola Gomez)

Continuing recovery, pope to skip public Angelus prayer

ROME (CNS) — Following medical advice, Pope Francis will not publicly pray the Sunday Angelus from the balcony of Rome’s Gemelli hospital, where he is recovering from abdominal surgery, the Vatican said.

His recovery was proceeding normally and his blood tests and chest X-ray showed good results, said Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office, in a written statement June 10, three days after the pope was operated on.

The pope underwent a three-hour surgery under general anesthesia for a hernia shortly after his general audience June 7.

Dr. Sergio Alfieri, the chief surgeon operating on the pope, said in a news conference at Gemelli hospital June 10 that the pope’s medical team advised him not to publicly pray the Angelus to reduce strain on his abdominal wall.

He explained that strain on the muscles caused by moving — getting in and out of bed or an armchair — could tear the prosthetic mesh used to reinforce the pope’s abdominal wall, which would require another operation to repair.

“We’ve asked him to make this sacrifice; for him it is a sacrifice not to (publicly) recite the Angelus.”

Pope to privately pray the Angelus Sunday

Also speaking at the news conference, Bruni said the pope would privately pray the Angelus Sunday at noon and that Catholics were invited to join him spiritually in prayer.

The pope prayed the Angelus from the balcony of Gemelli hospital when he was hospitalized in 2021 after undergoing colon surgery July 4, but Alfieri, who also performed that operation, said the pope was not required to avoid abdominal strain after the 2021 surgery and that he had seven days to recover before the July 11 Angelus then, whereas this time he has only had three days of rest.

Pope Francis’ 2021 surgery was meant to treat diverticulitis, inflammation of bulges in the intestine. He told the Associated Press in January that his diverticulitis had returned, but Alfieri explained that it was really a hernia causing the pope’s worsening pain.

Alfieri also said that Pope Francis does not currently have — or ever had — any cardiac or serious respiratory problems, and said the pope is in good health for someone his age who “isn’t exactly skinny.”

Can Pope Francis travel to World Youth Day?

Asked if the pope would be fit to travel to Portugal for World Youth Day in August and to Mongolia in September, Alfieri said he would not recommend other 86-year-olds to travel so extensively, but “Pope Francis, yes.”

“That man has the mind of a 60-year-old,” he said. “From a medical standpoint, he can now confront better than before his responsibilities in or outside of the Holy See, should he want to.”

Bruni said that while the pope’s audiences have been canceled until June 18 to allow for his full recovery, everything after that date remains on the pope’s calendar as planned.

Tags: Pope Francis
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