Wed | Dec 6, 2023

Vatican: Pope improving since hospitalisation with infection

Published:Thursday | March 30, 2023 | 10:43 AM
A view of the Agostino Gemelli hospital in Rome, Wednesday, March 29, 2023, after The Vatican said Pope Francis has been taken there in the afternoon for some scheduled tests.(AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

ROME (AP) — Pope Francis rested well overnight and was “progressively improving” Thursday, the Vatican said, after he was hospitalised with a respiratory infection that has called into question his participation in Palm Sunday and upcoming Holy Week events.

The 86-year-old pontiff, who had part of one lung removed as a young man, ate breakfast, read the newspapers and was working from his hospital room at Rome's Gemelli hospital, according to a statement from Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni.

“Before lunch he went to the little chapel in the private apartment, where he gathered in prayer and received the Eucharist,” the statement said.

Francis was hospitalised Wednesday after having trouble breathing in recent days and was diagnosed with a respiratory infection that wasn't COVID-19.

The Vatican said he would remain for a few days of treatment; his audiences were cancelled through Friday.

Despite his absence, the Vatican was abuzz with activity Thursday: Two Vatican offices issued an historic statement repudiating the “Doctrine of Discovery,” the legal theory backed by 15th century papal bulls that legitimised the colonial-era seizure of Native lands and form the basis of some property law today.

Francis is scheduled to celebrate Palm Sunday this weekend, and it wasn't clear how his medical condition would affect the Vatican's Holy Week observances, which include Holy Thursday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil and finally Easter Sunday on April 9.

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