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Posted on 11/29/2023 21:31 PM (CNA Daily News - Vatican)
Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Nov 29, 2023 / 17:31 pm (CNA).
Pope Francis reportedly has confirmed that he plans to take away Cardinal Raymond Burke’s Vatican apartment and salary but denied that he referred to the American prelate as his “enemy,” according to a web post by papal biographer Austen Ivereigh.
The pope reportedly announced at a meeting of Vatican heads on Nov. 20 that he intended to take action against Burke, who has publicly criticized some papal initiatives, according to the Italian Catholic news blog La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, which first reported the news on Nov. 27.
The Associated Press later confirmed the report based on conversations with two anonymous sources.
The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Burke said he has not been informed of the pope’s intention to take away his apartment and salary.
“People can draw their own conclusions about why the Holy Father told this to Austen Ivereigh and not the person concerned,” Burke said. He told the outlet that he intends to stay in Rome even if he is forced to find somewhere else to live.
“It’s my duty as a cardinal to remain in Rome,” he said.
Pope Francis removed Burke from the post of prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura (the highest judicial authority in the Church) in 2014 and instead appointed him cardinal patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, a mostly ceremonial role dedicated to the spiritual welfare of the members of the order. He remained patron until this year but had held only the title, having been reportedly restricted from active involvement since 2016 and thus sidelined during the extensive institutional reforms of the order over the last years.
In an article that was highly critical of Burke published on the website Where Peter Is, Ivereigh wrote that Pope Francis confirmed to him that he plans to take away Burke’s apartment and salary.
“I met with Pope Francis on the afternoon of November 27th. It was a short meeting because of his lung inflammation, which meant it took him some effort to speak. (The following evening his trip to Dubai was canceled because it had not improved enough.) In the course of our conversation, Francis told me he had decided to remove Cardinal Burke’s cardinal privileges — his apartment and salary — because he had been using those privileges against the Church,” Ivereigh wrote.
“He told me that while the decision wasn’t a secret, he didn’t intend a public announcement but earlier that day (Monday) it had been leaked,” he wrote.
Ivereigh is the author of two hagiographic biographies of Pope Francis and co-authored the 2020 book “Let Us Dream: A Path to a Better Future” with the Holy Father. He also holds a key advisory position in the current Synod on Synodality.
Ivereigh wrote that the pope said, contrary to some media reports, that he did not refer to Burke as his “enemy.”
According to the La Nuova Bussola Quotidian’s unnamed Vatican source, Pope Francis told the meeting of Vatican department heads on Nov. 20: “Cardinal Burke is my enemy, so I take away his apartment and his salary.”
In his web post, Ivereigh wrote that he doubted the veracity of that report, saying: “I knew this quote was pure fiction. Pope Francis would never conduct a personal vendetta. It was conveniently in line with the traditionalist narrative of a merciless, vindictive pope who recklessly and unreasonably ‘punishes’ those who disagree with him.”
Ivereigh said he “wrote Pope Francis a note alerting him to this quote and offering to correct it with the truth as he had put it to me” and received a clear denial from the Holy Father.
“On Tuesday evening I had a note back from the pope. ‘I never used the word “enemy” nor the pronoun “my.” I simply announced the fact at the meeting of the dicastery heads, without giving specific explanations,’” Ivereigh wrote.
CNA reached out to the Vatican press office to confirm Ivereigh’s report but did not receive a response by time of publication.
The papal biographer has been a frequent critic of Burke, who had publicly voiced his concerns about the Synod on Synodality’s threat to Church doctrine.
In a recent post on the social media platform X, Ivereigh compared the cardinal to Archbishop Marcel Lefevbre, who founded the Priestly Society of St. Pius X and was excommunicated for ordaining priests without Vatican approval.
Ivereigh wrote: “Burke’s claim to be on the true branch while the tree goes its own way was the justification of Abp. Lefebvre, who led a schism following Vatican II. Just as Lefebvre rejected collegiality then, Burke rejects synodality now, despite both being authentic Church developments.”
Posted on 11/29/2023 19:58 PM (CNA Daily News - Vatican)
CNA Staff, Nov 29, 2023 / 15:58 pm (CNA).
The Vatican on Wednesday said Pope Francis’ health was stable as the Holy Father continues to receive treatment for ongoing lung inflammation stemming from a flu infection.
“The Holy Father’s condition is stable; he has no fever, but lung inflammation associated with respiratory distress remains,” the Vatican said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon.
“He continues antibiotic therapy,” the statement added.
Pope Francis has been struggling for several days with persistent symptoms following what the Vatican called a mild flu infection that developed last week.
The Vatican announced on Tuesday that it had canceled the pope’s planned trip to Dubai this week due to his continuing struggles with lung inflammation. Francis had been scheduled to travel to Dubai to deliver a speech at the COP28 climate conference.
The Vatican said on Monday that the Holy Father’s condition was “clearly improving,” with the pontiff in “good and stable” condition and without a fever.
The pope last week visited the Gemelli Isola Hospital in Rome after his flu diagnosis. During that visit, Francis underwent a CT scan to rule out the risk of “pulmonary complications,” the Holy See said at the time.
Francis, who turns 87 next month, has experienced a number of medical setbacks in recent years. He has been hospitalized on more than one occasion, most recently in June for abdominal surgery.
Part of the pope’s right lung was removed in a surgery in 1957 in Argentina before he began his novitiate with the Jesuits. Earlier this year, the pope was treated for bronchitis for several days, quipping on his April 1 release: “I’m still alive, you know.”
Though he continues to struggle with the symptoms from the flu, the pope has kept up a somewhat regular schedule at the Vatican this week, hosting a soccer team on Wednesday and appearing for his Wednesday audience (his prepared remarks, however, were read by a Vatican official), while the Holy Father also met with French abuse victims on Tuesday.
Posted on 11/29/2023 14:00 PM (CNA Daily News - Vatican)
Vatican City, Nov 29, 2023 / 10:00 am (CNA).
Still recovering from the flu and a respiratory tract infection, Pope Francis attended his weekly general audience Wednesday but his reflection was read for him by a Vatican official.
The Holy Father’s appearance in the Paul VI Audience Hall on Nov. 29 came a day after his doctors persuaded him to cancel a planned trip to Dubai for the COP28 conference on climate change, scheduled for Dec. 1–3.
The pope, who needed to have an aide read his Angelus reflection on Sunday as well, sat on stage in front of the crowd throughout the one-hour public audience, which included a circus performance.
In his prepared remarks, read by Monsignor Filippo Ciampanelli of the Holy See’s Secretariat of State, Pope Francis warned of the dangers of refashioning society on the basis of a technocratic and materialistic “vision of life that discards those who do not produce and struggles to look beyond the immanent.”
This point was reinforced by referring to the biblical story of the Tower of Babel, which is a lesson about man’s “sacrificing all individuality to the efficiency of the collective.”
One unique feature today, however, is that “we could even say that we find ourselves in the first civilization in history that globally seeks to organize a human society without the presence of God, concentrated in huge cities that remain horizontal despite their vertiginous skyscrapers,” the pope observed.
In this search for “the efficiency of the collective” there is instead a desire “that absorbs the uniqueness of each into a bubble of uniformity.”
But these tendencies “are dangerous, alienating, destructive ambitions” specifically in the context of the present moment as this “cohesion, instead of fraternity and peace, is often based on ambition, nationalism, homologation, and techno-economic structures that inculcate the persuasion that God is insignificant and useless: not so much because one seeks more knowledge, but above all for the sake of more power.”
Cognizant of these challenges, Pope Francis suggested that Evangelii Gaudium, his 2013 apostolic exhortation on the proclamation of the Gospel in today’s world, offers a potential antidote to this now ubiquitous tendency, saying there must be “an evangelization capable of shedding light on these new ways of relating to God, to others, and to the world around us, and inspiring essential values. It must reach the places where new narratives and paradigms are being formed, bringing the word of Jesus to the inmost soul of our cities.”
Pope Francis noted that the proclamation of the Gospel is not merely an abstract project, nor is it just a “repetition of an acquired style, but testimony that the Gospel is alive today here for us.” Instead, it is built upon dialogue that requires “frequenting the spaces where one suffers, works, studies, and reflects, inhabiting the crossroads where human beings share what has meaning for their lives.”
“It means being, as a Church, a leaven for dialogue, encounter, unity. After all, our own formulations of faith are the fruit of dialogue and encounter among cultures, communities, and various situations," he continued.
“We must not fear dialogue: On the contrary, it is precisely confrontation and criticism that help us to preserve theology from being transformed into ideology.”
Never a dull moment at the Vatican, as this morning at the General Audience, a circus group performed for Pope Francis. pic.twitter.com/cMHqgMc9HW— Colm Flynn (@colmflynnire) November 29, 2023
At the end of the audience the Holy Father repeated his call for peace and prayers for those who continue to suffer due to the Israel-Hamas war.
“I hope that the ongoing truce in Gaza continues, so that all the hostages are released and access to the necessary humanitarian aid is still allowed,” he observed. “I heard from the parish there: There is no water, there is no bread, and the people are suffering. It is the simple people, the common people who suffer.”
The pope also had sharp words for weapons manufacturers, saying: “There is a group that earns a lot: the weapons manufacturers; these earn well on the death of others.”
The Holy Father closed by thanking members of a circus troupe that performed during the audience.
“The circus expresses a dimension of the human soul: that of gratuitous joy, that simple joy, made with the mystique of the game,” Pope Francis said.
Posted on 11/29/2023 10:20 AM (CNA Daily News - Vatican)
Vatican City, Nov 29, 2023 / 06:20 am (CNA).
One day after canceling his trip to Dubai at the request of his doctors, Pope Francis appeared at his public Wednesday audience and shared with a raspy voice that he was still not feeling well as he recovers from the flu.
Pope Francis, who turns 87 in December, spoke softly into a microphone as he explained that he was “still not well” and would have an aide read his speech because his “voice is not good.”
The pope could be heard breathing heavily as he stood to begin the general audience in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall with the sign of the cross on Nov. 29.
Pope Francis has “influenza and inflammation of the respiratory tract,” according to the Vatican’s spokesman Matteo Bruni, who said on Nov. 28 that the pope’s condition had “improved.”
“Doctors have asked the pope not to make the trip planned for the coming days to Dubai for the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change,” Bruni said in the written statement on Tuesday night.
“Pope Francis accepted the doctors’ request with great regret,” he added.
The Vatican first made public that Pope Francis was ill on Nov. 25 when the pope was taken to a Rome hospital for precautionary testing.
A CT scan at the hospital “ruled out pneumonia, but it showed lung inflammation causing some breathing difficulties,” it said.
The pope was treated earlier this week with intravenous antibiotics and continued to meet with individuals and groups in a scaled-back schedule, including the president of Paraguay on Monday and French abuse victims on Tuesday.
At his Wednesday audience, Pope Francis sat on stage in front of the crowd in the Paul VI Hall throughout the one-hour public audience, which included a circus performance.
Monsignor Filippo Ciampanelli, an official in the Vatican Secretariat of State, read aloud the pope’s spiritual reflection on “the passion for evangelization.”
At the end of the general audience, Pope Francis spoke briefly, asking people to continue to pray for Israel and Palestine. He expressed hope that the cease-fire will continue and that all hostages will be released.
“And please continue to pray for the grave situation in Israel and Palestine. Peace. Please, peace,” Pope Francis said.
“I hope that the ongoing cease-fire in Gaza will continue, that all hostages will be released, and that necessary humanitarian aid will still be allowed in. I heard from the parish there that there is a lack of water, a lack of bread, and people are suffering,” he added. “We ask for peace.”
Posted on 11/28/2023 21:50 PM (CNA Daily News - Vatican)
Rome Newsroom, Nov 28, 2023 / 17:50 pm (CNA).
Pope Francis met with Spanish bishops at the Vatican today to inform them of the conclusions of the apostolic visit made to the country’s seminaries in early 2023.
Before discussing the report, the preacher of the papal household, Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa, offered those present a meditation starting at 8 a.m. that took Pentecost as its starting point.
The Holy Father joined the meeting once the meditation began, and when it was over there was an extensive conversation for about two hours. After a break, the meeting with those responsible for the Dicastery for the Clergy began.
During a press conference, the president of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference (CEE), Cardinal Juan José Omella, stated that it soon became clear that the meeting with the pontiff “was not about chewing them out or condemning anyone. It was to see how we can improve. We are in a change of eras and in some way we have to prepare.”
Although the pope specified that the apostolic visit “is not an investigation” in an interview with the Spanish newspaper ABC published in December 2022, the unusual call for all the bishops to come to Rome raised some concerns.
The secretary general and spokesman of the CEE, Bishop Francisco César García Magán, stated on Nov. 24 that there was no “fear” among the bishops about the meeting today in Rome, although he acknowledged that it was “a singular event.”
Ask questions and hold nothing back
For the Spanish cardinal, it was a conversation “in keeping with the synodal path” in which the pope encouraged the prelates to ask questions and hold nothing back.
Repeatedly asked by journalists whether the only topic of conversation with the pontiff had really been the situation of the seminaries in Spain, the cardinal drew on a childhood expression to reinforce his explanations: “By Sweet Jesus, I’m telling you the truth.”
Omella thus sought to rule out that either the issue of the sexual abuse of minors within the Church or the complicated sociopolitical situation in Spain in recent weeks had been addressed.
Throughout the press conference, which he gave with García and the president of the Spanish bishops’ subcommission on the clergy, Bishop Jesús Vidal, Omella stressed Pope Francis’ interest “in forming very mature men, rooted in the person of Jesus Christ; men of God, but with their feet on the ground.”
For two hours, the conversation addressed questions about the different types of formation offered or the pastoral experience of the seminarians.
For Vidal, the Holy Father established “a spiritual dialogue in an atmosphere of unity and communion” in which “we have been asking him and he has been sharing his insights based on his experience.”
He said that “the pope would be interested in the formation of future priests in Spain is a privilege” and stressed “the push he gave us by encouraging us to continue implementing the formation plan” of the seminaries.
Reorganization of seminaries and houses of formation
Vidal explained that Spain has 86 seminaries sharing 55 houses of formation, which means that not all seminaries have their own house of formation. For example, there is an interdiocesan seminary in Catalonia attended by candidates for the priesthood from seven different dioceses.
Forty of the 69 Spanish dioceses currently have their own seminaries. Of the 40, 29 are diocesan and 15 are Redemptoris Mater seminaries run by the Neocatechumenal Way. Several dioceses have more than one seminary.
One of the issues raised is the need to reorganize this structure due to the decline of vocations. According to the latest data provided by the CEE, fewer than 1,000 candidates for the priesthood have been in formation in the 2022-2023 academic year, the first time that the figure fell below that level since records have been kept in modern times.
New admissions were below 200 and ordinations were under 100 for the first time. Two decades ago, Spain had nearly 1,700 seminarians and almost 200 were ordained.
Omella pointed out that, among other factors, this is caused by the low birth rate and that the Church has to face a kind of “corporate downsizing” in this area.
“The reality is different from the ’60s. The low birth rate affects the seminaries as it affects the universities and they have to rethink the future,” the president of the CEE explained.
Vidal said there is no fixed date to obtain “concrete” results for what has been proposed, because it’s an ongoing process. However, a three-year period has been established to evaluate progress.
“On the issue of the merging of seminaries, the pope encouraged us to continue following the path the Church is on in Spain,” where there are 15 houses of formation that take in seminarians from various dioceses, Vidal added.
The president of the episcopal subcommittee on the clergy stated that the emotional formation of future priests “is a topic that the pope is very interested in.” In this regard he said the pontiff “encouraged future priests to be men capable of creating communion and fostering dialogue, priests who can live out synodality in this Church.”
The priest, “like anyone, must be a mature, free person, capable of developing a full life and a suitable social life,” Vidal noted.
Wearing a cassock?
Vidal also explained in response to questions from the media that during the conversation with Pope Francis the question of what kind of clothing the new priests should wear was addressed. The bishop said that this is a matter framed in the idea that priests must be “rooted in the reality” that surrounds them.
The prelate pointed out that “we can get carried away by trends that are not central, that are peripheral,” without clarifying what they are.
The pope’s health
Omella noted that Pope Francis was able to speak “without coughing even once” in his conversation with the Spanish bishops, despite the lung condition that has forced him to reduce his schedule, and said: “He’s healthier than us.”
For the Spanish cardinal, this meeting has had the effect of “puncturing two balloons: Nothing serious is happening in [the Church in] Spain and the pope is not as ill as it seemed.”
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.
Posted on 11/28/2023 18:53 PM (CNA Daily News - Vatican)
CNA Staff, Nov 28, 2023 / 14:53 pm (CNA).
Pope Francis will not attend the United Nations COP28 climate conference in Dubai this week due to his continuing struggles with lung inflammation stemming from influenza, the Vatican said on Tuesday.
The Holy See Press Office announced on Tuesday that “although the general clinical picture of the Holy Father in relation to the state of influenza and inflammation of the respiratory tract has improved,” the Holy Father’s doctors “have asked the pope not to make the trip planned for the next few days to Dubai on the occasion of the 28th Conference of the Parties for United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.”
“Pope Francis accepted the doctors’ request with great regret and the trip was therefore canceled,” the press office said.
The Vatican indicated the Holy Father will still attempt to participate in the conference in some fashion.
“As the pope and the Holy See remain willing to be part of the discussions taking place in the coming days, the ways in which this can be implemented will be defined as soon as possible,” the press release said.
Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni confirmed on Tuesday that the Holy Father will take part in his customary Wednesday general audience on Nov. 29.
The Vatican had confirmed on Monday that the Holy Father’s condition was “clearly improving,” with the pontiff in “good and stable” condition and without a fever.
The pope last week visited the Gemelli Isola Hospital in Rome while suffering from a “mild” flu. During that visit, Francis underwent a CT scan to rule out the risk of “pulmonary complications,” the Holy See said on Saturday.
The scan had come back negative, though the Vatican on Monday had said it revealed “lung inflammation causing some breathing difficulties.”
The pope had been scheduled to travel to Dubai this weekend to deliver a speech at the COP28 climate conference. The Holy Father would have visited the United Arab Emirates Dec. 1–3 for the conference, marking the first such time a pontiff had attended the event.
Posted on 11/28/2023 17:34 PM (CNA Daily News - Vatican)
Vatican City, Nov 28, 2023 / 13:34 pm (CNA).
Pope Francis has stripped one of his top American critics, Cardinal Raymond Burke, of his Vatican housing and salary privileges, the Associated Press is reporting.
According to the AP report, which is based on conversations with two anonymous sources briefed on the measures, the pope discussed his planned actions against the American prelate at a Nov. 20 meeting of Vatican office heads.
The pope reportedly said that Burke was a source of “disunity” in the Church and that he was using the privileges afforded to retired cardinals against the Church.
The Italian Catholic news blog La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana first reported pending actions against Burke on Nov. 27.
“Cardinal Burke is my enemy, so I take away his apartment and his salary,” the pope had said at the Nov. 20 meeting, according to Bussola’s undisclosed Vatican source.
CNA was unable to immediately reach Burke to confirm the measures against him. The Vatican’s communications office did not respond to EWTN’s request for comment by time of publication.
The AP reported that the Vatican spokesman, Matteo Bruni, “referred questions to Burke.”
“I don’t have anything particular to say about that,” Bruni told reporters.
Burke was ordained a priest by Pope Paul VI in Rome in 1975 and was bishop of La Crosse, Wisconsin, from 1995 to 2004 and archbishop of St. Louis from 2004 to 2008. Widely regarded as an expert in canon law, Burke was appointed in 2008 as prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura (the highest judicial authority in the Church) by Pope Benedict XVI. Two years later, Benedict made him a cardinal.
Pope Francis removed him from the post of prefect in 2014 and instead appointed him cardinal patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, a mostly ceremonial role dedicated to the spiritual welfare of the members of the order. He remained patron until this year but had held only the title, having been reportedly restricted from active involvement since 2016 and thus sidelined during the extensive institutional reforms of the order over the last years. In June, Pope Francis named Cardinal Gianfranco Ghirlanda, SJ, as Burke’s official replacement. At the time of the announcement, Burke was only a few days away from the customary retirement age for bishops of 75.
Burke has emerged as a strong critic of some of Pope Francis’ initiatives.
He was one of the five cardinals who sent “dubia” to Pope Francis asking for clarification on the Church’s position on doctrinal development, the blessing of same-sex unions, the authority of the Synod on Synodality, women’s ordination, and sacramental absolution.
The document was made public on the eve of the opening of the Synod on Synodality at the Vatican and discussed at an Oct. 2 press conference in which Burke took part and expressed his concerns about the synod.
“It is unfortunately very clear that the invocation of the Holy Spirit by some has for its purpose the advancement of an agenda that is more political and human than ecclesial and divine,” Burke said.
This would not be the first former curial official this year asked to leave his Vatican living quarters.
According to a German newspaper report in June, Pope Francis ordered Archbishop Georg Gänswein to leave the Vatican and return to Germany. Gänswein, a longtime secretary to Pope Benedict XVI, served as prefect of the Papal Household to both Benedict and his successor, Pope Francis, until February 2020. Gänswein’s departure from the Vatican following the death of Benedict and subsequent dismissal by Pope Francis was seen by some as a fall from grace.
According to the German media report, Pope Francis in his comments on the decision “referred to the custom that the former private secretaries of deceased popes did not remain in Rome.”
Like Burke, Gänswein, 66, is without portfolio.
This is a developing story.
Posted on 11/27/2023 19:45 PM (CNA Daily News - Vatican)
Vatican City, Nov 27, 2023 / 15:45 pm (CNA).
Pope Francis is being treated with antibiotics intravenously and has postponed some of his meetings this week as he recovers from a “mild flu,” according to the Vatican.
A CT scan at a Rome hospital over the weekend “ruled out pneumonia, but it showed lung inflammation causing some breathing difficulties,” Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said Nov. 27.
Francis, who turns 87 next month, spent much of the past decade as pope in relatively good health but has dealt with several painful medical conditions over the last few years.
Here is a timeline charting Pope Francis’ recent health concerns:
A bout of sciatic pain in the final days of 2020 keeps Pope Francis from presiding at the Vatican’s liturgies on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
Francis has suffered from sciatica for a number of years; he spoke about it during an in-flight press conference returning from a trip to Brazil in July 2013.
“Sciatica is very painful, very painful! I don’t wish it on anyone,” he said about the condition, which starts in the lower back and can cause pain running down the back of the thigh and leg to the foot.
📹 VIDEO | Sound on! Listen to thousands of pilgrims encouraging Pope Francis as he makes a huge effort to stand up and walk at the end of the general audience. He is undergoing treatment for a torn ligament in his knee. Stay strong, dear Holy Father! pic.twitter.com/iejCLYtBlF— Catholic News Agency (@cnalive) May 4, 2022
Pope Francis cancels three more public appearances at the end of the month due to sciatic nerve pain.
A problem with his colon lands the pope in the hospital on July 4.
Pope Francis undergoes surgery to relieve stricture of the colon caused by diverticulitis. The three-hour surgery includes a left hemicolectomy, the removal of one side of the colon.
The pope spends 11 days in Rome’s Gemelli Hospital recovering from the surgery.
Pope Francis shares that he was having problems with his knee.
“Excuse me if I stay seated, but I have a pain in my leg today ... It hurts me, it hurts if I’m standing,” the pope tells journalists from the Jerusalem-based Christian Media Center on Jan. 17.
Francis tells the crowd at his general audience that the reason he is unable to greet pilgrims as usual is because of a temporary “problem with my right leg,” an inflamed knee ligament.
Pope Francis cancels two public events at the end of February due to knee pain and doctors’ orders to rest.
In the month that follows, he receives help going up and down stairs but continues to walk and stand without assistance.
During a trip to Malta, Pope Francis uses a lift to disembark the papal plane. A special lift is also installed at Malta’s Basilica of St. Paul in Rabat so Francis can visit and pray in the crypt grotto without taking the stairs.
On the return flight on April 3, Francis tells journalists: “My health is a bit fickle, I have this knee problem that brings out problems with walking.”
At the Vatican’s Good Friday service, the pope does not lay prostrate before the altar as he has done in the past.
He also does not celebrate the Easter Vigil Mass on April 16 or participate in the paschal candle procession but sits in the front of the congregation in a white chair.
On April 22 and April 26, Francis’ agenda is cleared for medical checkups and rest for his knee. The following day, the pope tells pilgrims at his general audience that his knee prevents him from standing for very long.
Pope Francis also begins to remain seated in the popemobile while greeting pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square.
On April 30, he says that his doctor has ordered him not to walk.
The pope says at the beginning of the month that he will undergo a medical procedure on his knee, “an intervention with infiltrations,” by which he may have meant a therapeutic injection, sometimes used to relieve knee pain caused by ligament tears.
Two days later, he uses a wheelchair in public for the first time since his July 2021 colon surgery. Throughout May he continues to use the wheelchair and avoids most standing and walking.
Francis also undergoes more than two hours of rehabilitation for his knee every day, according to an Argentine archbishop close to the pontiff.
The treatment “is giving results,” then-Archbishop Víctor Manuel Fernández writes on Twitter on May 14 after he has a private meeting with Francis.
Other than his knee, “he’s better than ever,” Fernández adds.
Earlier, Lebanon’s tourism minister says that a reported papal visit to the country in June was postponed due to the pope’s health.
The pope does stand for long periods of time when celebrating a May 15 Mass in St. Peter’s Square. Afterward, a seminarian from Mexico catches a moment of lightheartedness between pilgrims and the pope as he greets them from the popemobile. Someone thanks the pope for being present at the Mass, despite his knee pain, to which Francis responds: “Do you know what I need for my knee? A bit of tequila.”
In early June, the Vatican postpones Pope Francis’ planned visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan for health reasons. The trip was planned for July 2–7 but is put off “at the request of his doctors, and in order not to jeopardize the results of the therapy that he is undergoing for his knee,” according to the Vatican.
Less than a week later, the Vatican announces that Pope Francis will not preside over the June 16 Corpus Christi Mass because of his knee problems and “the specific liturgical needs of the celebration.”
Pope Francis comments on his health and speaks about the effects of old age in general terms during his June 15 general audience.
“When you are old, you are no longer in control of your body. One has to learn to choose what to do and what not to do,” the pope says. “The vigor of the body fails and abandons us, even though our heart does not stop yearning. One must then learn to purify desire: Be patient, choose what to ask of the body and of life. When we are old, we cannot do the same things we did when we were young: The body has another pace, and we must listen to the body and accept its limits. We all have them. I too have to use a walking stick now.”
Toward the end of the month, on June 28, Pope Francis walks with a cane to meet bishops from Brazil and tells them: “I have been able to walk for three days.”
On Aug. 4, the Vatican announces that Massimiliano Strappetti, a Vatican nurse, has been appointed as Pope Francis’ “personal health care assistant.”
José María Villalón, the head doctor of the Atlético de Madrid soccer team, is recruited to assist Pope Francis with his knee problems. He says the pope is “a very nice and very stubborn patient in the sense that there are surgical procedures that he does not want” and that “we have to offer him more conservative treatments so that he will agree to them.”
In an interview published by the Associated Press on Jan. 25, Pope Francis announces that his diverticulitis has returned. He emphasizes that he is in “good health” and that, for his age, he is “normal.”
On Feb. 23 the Vatican announces that Pope Francis has a “strong cold.” The pope distributes copies of his speeches at two morning appointments rather than reading them aloud as usual.
On March 29 the Vatican announces that Pope Francis is expected to remain in a hospital in Rome for “some days” due to a respiratory infection. It had announced earlier in the day that he was in the hospital for previously scheduled medical checkups.
Pope Francis undergoes a three-hour abdominal surgery to repair an incisional hernia on June 7.
A team of surgeons removes scar tissue and operates on a hernia in the pope’s abdominal wall at the site of a previous surgical incision in Rome’s Gemelli Hospital.
The pope is discharged on June 16 after an eight-day stay in the hospital recovering from the operation.
Pope Francis comes down with a “mild flu,” according to the Vatican. The pope cancels his scheduled meetings and goes to the hospital on Nov. 25 for precautionary testing.
The CT scan at the hospital rules out pneumonia but shows that the pope has lung inflammation that is “causing some breathing difficulties,” Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni tells journalists on Nov. 27.
The pope is treated with antibiotics intravenously as he recovers. A bandage holding in place a cannula for intravenous treatment can be seen on the pope’s right hand as he gives the Angelus blessing from his residence, the Casa Santa Marta, rather than from the usual window of the Apostolic Palace overlooking St. Peter’s Square.
“Today I cannot appear at the window because I have this problem of inflammation of the lungs,” the pope says in the Angelus broadcast on Nov. 26.
The pope indicates in his Angelus address that he still intends to travel to Dubai Dec. 1–3 to deliver a speech to the United Nations COP28 climate conference.
Pope Francis feels well enough to keep his scheduled appointment with the president of Paraguay the following day. The Vatican releases photos of the pope’s meeting with the Paraguayan president showing the pope smiling and using a cane to walk.
This story was originally published May 21, 2022, and was last updated on Nov. 27, 2023.
Posted on 11/27/2023 10:05 AM (CNA Daily News - Vatican)
Vatican City, Nov 27, 2023 / 06:05 am (CNA).
Pope Francis’ lung inflammation has caused him some breathing difficulties, but his condition is stable and “clearly improving,” the Vatican said on Monday.
The 86-year-old pope is being treated with antibiotics intravenously and is in “good and stable” condition without a fever, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni told journalists on Nov. 27.
A CT scan at a Rome hospital over the weekend “ruled out pneumonia, but it showed lung inflammation causing some breathing difficulties,” Bruni said.
Pope Francis felt well enough to keep his scheduled appointment with the president of Paraguay on Monday morning but has postponed some of his other meetings this week as he recovers from what the Vatican has described as a “mild flu.”
The Vatican released photos of the pope’s meeting with Paraguayan President Santiago Peña, which showed the pope smiling and using a cane to walk.
The pope was also expected to meet with a group of French sexual abuse survivors on Monday, according to the French news outlet I.Media, but it appears that this meeting was among those postponed.
“To facilitate the pope’s recovery, some important engagements scheduled for these days have been postponed so that he can devote the desired time and energy to them,” Bruni explained.
“Others, of an institutional nature or easier to support given his current health condition, have been maintained.”
Pope Francis, who turns 87 next month, has experienced a number of medical setbacks in recent years. He has been hospitalized on more than one occasion, most recently in June for abdominal surgery.
Part of the pope’s right lung was removed in a surgery in 1957 in Argentina before he began his novitiate with the Jesuits. Earlier this year, the pope was treated for bronchitis for several days, quipping on his April 1 release, “I’m still alive, you know.”
On Sunday, the pope gave the Angelus blessing from his residence, the Casa Santa Marta, rather than from the usual window of the Apostolic Palace overlooking St. Peter’s Square.
“Today I cannot appear at the window because I have this problem of inflammation of the lungs,” the pope said in the Angelus broadcast on Nov. 26.
Pope Francis indicated in his Angelus address that he still intends to travel to Dubai next weekend to deliver a speech to the United Nations COP28 climate conference. The pope is scheduled to be in the United Arab Emirates Dec. 1–3.
Posted on 11/25/2023 14:07 PM (CNA Daily News - Vatican)
Rome Newsroom, Nov 25, 2023 / 10:07 am (CNA).
Pope Francis has added 11 new members to the Vatican office that focuses on the lay apostolate and family life, with two married couples and four figures affiliated with ecclesial movements highlighting the selections.
The Vatican announced the pope’s picks to the Dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life on Nov. 25.
New members include the Taiwanese couple Joseph Teyu Chou, a professor of finance, and Clare Jiayann Yeh, the founder and director of the local bishops’ Marriage and Family Pastoral Center.
Another married couple picked for the dicastery comes from France — Benoit and Véronique Rabourdin. The two are the international managers of the Amour and Vérité marriage and family ministry, an initiative of the Emmanuel Community, a French-founded public association of the faithful.
The French and Taiwanese couples join a Polish couple already serving as members of the dicastery for a total of three sets of spouses among the Vatican office’s 28 members.
In addition to the Emmanuel Community-affiliated Rabourdins, Pope Francis also added other members associated with ecclesial movements.
Father Andrea D’Auria directs the international center of the lay movement Communion and Liberation and is a member of the movement’s associated Priestly Fraternity of St. Charles Borromeo.
Founded in Italy and with about 60,000 enrolled members throughout the world, Communion and Liberation recently came into conflict with the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life over its plan for leadership succession, with prefect Cardinal Kevin Farrell eventually intervening to appoint its president in 2022.
Margaret Karram, president of the Work of Mary (Focolare Movement), a participant in the recent Synod on Synodality assembly at the Vatican, was also added as a new member to the dicastery, as was Father Luis Felipe Navarro Marfá, the rector of the Opus Dei-run University of the Sacred Heart in Rome.
The Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life oversees most Catholic movements and maintains the International Associations of the Faithful Directory.
Three laywomen academics are also among the new members: Ana María Celis Brunet, an expert in abuse prevention from Chile; Maria Luisa Di Pietro, who directs the Center for Research and Studies on Procreative Health at University of the Sacred Heart; and Carmen Peña Garcia, a Spanish professor of marriage law.
In total, eight of the Vatican office’s 28 members are now women. In 2018, Pope Francis emphasized that the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life should promote a deeper reflection of the role of women in the Church and society.
The lone prelate added to the dicastery was Archbishop Josep Àngel Saiz Meneses of Seville, Spain. Eleven of the dicastery’s members now belong to the episcopacy, including Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernández, prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, and the American cardinals Robert McElroy (San Diego) and Wilton Gregory (Washington, D.C.).
The Dicastery of Laity, Family, and Life was created in 2016 when Pope Francis combined the former pontifical councils for the laity and the family. According to its statutes, the dicastery has the responsibility “for the promotion of life and the apostolate of the lay faithful, for the pastoral care of the young, family and its mission, following God’s plan and for the protection and support of human life.”