According to his doctor and the Holy See, Pope Francis survived a surprising operation well. Now he must recover, it was said. But can Francis?
ROME – After an operation on an open abdomen including general anesthesia, Pope Francis now has days of recovery. This was explained by the attending surgeon Sergio Alfieri after the three-hour operation. The 86-year-old pontiff was operated on yesterday for a laparocele, a hernia in the intestine. According to the doctor, the surgery was successful, the prominent patient also tolerated the anesthesia well and was then quick to joke.
The doctor told journalists that Francis would have to stay in the clinic for five to seven days for observation and recovery from the procedure. When the Pope feels fit again, he can carry out his duties as planned, Alfieri added. He only advised the Argentinean against physically demanding activities – to which, according to the doctor, he replied that he was the pope and therefore would certainly not lift any heavy weights.
No audiences for now
As a precaution, the planned audiences in the Vatican were canceled until June 18, i.e. for around one and a half weeks. This was confirmed by Matteo Bruni, the spokesman for the Holy See. A major event planned for Saturday at St. Peter’s Square for peace should continue to take place – of course now without the participation of the Pope.
A major appeal for peace is to be published at the event, to which around 30 Nobel Prize winners and celebrities such as opera and pop stars Andrea Bocelli and Al Bano are also expected. The Vatican is hoping for more than a billion signatures around the world for the initiative.
Another event in the next few days is the traditional Angelus prayer on Sunday at 12 noon. The Pope could theoretically also speak this in the hospital – as he had done in 2021 after his bowel operation at the time on the balcony of the Gemelli Clinic.
Papal home office in the hospital?
Even when the pope had to stay in the hospital for three days shortly before Easter in March due to pneumonia, he worked in his private apartment on the tenth floor of the hospital. Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin announced yesterday that the Pope could also pursue his most important tasks in the clinic and that he would be supported.
This is one of the reasons why Francis rarely allows himself phases of rest and downtime so as not to appear old, weak or frail. The Argentinian, who is mostly in a wheelchair because of a severe knee problem, wants to avoid giving the Curia – especially critics or opponents – the impression that he can no longer carry out his office properly and that his pontificate is about to end. dpa
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