Pope Francis given intravenous antibiotics for lung inflammation

Vatican City — Pope Francis was in a “good and stable” condition Monday but was receiving antibiotics intravenously and would limit his activities for a few days to regain strength and fight off a lung inflammation, the Vatican said. The pope, who will turn 87 on Dec. 17, revealed the inflammation on Sunday but said he would still travel 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.

Pope Francis, battling what he said was a lung inflammation, delivers his Sunday Angelus blessing from his residence at the Casa Santa Marta, Nov. 26, 2023, in Vatican City.
Simone Risoluti/Getty

“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 added that a priest, sitting beside him, would read out his day’s reflections for him.

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.

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.

In the spring of this year, Francis was hospitalized 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.

In June he spent another nine days in a hospital for surgery to have a hernia repaired and remove painful scarring.

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 didn’t 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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