Pope Francis will continue to receive treatment after being hospitalized for a respiratory infection on Wednesday, a Vatican spokesman said Thursday.
“His Holiness Pope Francis rested well overnight. The clinical picture is progressively improving and he is continuing his planned treatment,” Holy See Press Office Director Matteo Bruni said in a brief statement issued just after 12:30 p.m. on March 30.
“This morning after having breakfast, [Pope Francis] read some newspapers and resumed work,” Bruni added. “Before lunch, he went to the chapel of his private apartment, where he spent time in prayer and received the Eucharist.”
On March 29 the Vatican announced that Pope Francis was expected to remain in a Rome hospital for a few days due to a respiratory infection. It had been announced earlier in the day that he was in the hospital for previously scheduled medical checkups.
As of Thursday morning, the pope’s agenda lists no appointments for the day for March 30. He is still scheduled to preside over a Mass in St. Peter’s Square on April 2 for Palm Sunday and to give the usual Sunday Angelus address.
“In recent days Pope Francis has complained of some difficulty breathing and this afternoon went to [Gemelli Hospital] to carry out some medical tests. The results of these tests showed a respiratory infection (a COVID-19 infection was excluded) that will require some days of opportune medical treatment in the hospital,” Holy See Press Office Director Matteo Bruni said Wednesday evening.
“Pope Francis is touched by the many messages he received and expresses his gratitude for the closeness and prayer,” Bruni added.
Bruni had issued a brief statement earlier in the afternoon of March 29 to say the pope was at Gemelli Hospital “for some previously scheduled checkups.”
Gemelli is the same hospital where Pope Francis was hospitalized in July 2021 when he underwent surgery on his colon for diverticulitis, or inflammation of the intestinal wall.
In an interview with the Associated Press in January, Pope Francis disclosed that the diverticulitis had “returned.” At the time, the 86-year-old pontiff — who traveled to South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo in late January — insisted he was in relatively good condition.
The pope has also suffered since last year from a problem with his right knee, making it necessary for him to rely on a cane and a wheelchair to move around. But Francis told the AP that a fracture had healed without surgery after laser and magnet therapy.
Hannah Brockhaus is Catholic News Agency's senior Rome correspondent. She grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, and has a degree in English from Truman State University in Missouri.