Pope Addresses Audience Despite Illness, Urges for Peace in Conflicted Regions
Pope Francis, battling a persistent flu that forced the cancellation of his anticipated visit to Dubai, persevered to lead his regular Wednesday audience at the Vatican. Despite evident fatigue and breathlessness, the 86-year-old pontiff addressed the gathering, admitting his ongoing struggle with the flu.
“I’m still not well with this flu,” Francis confessed to the concerned audience, acknowledging his health condition while delivering his message.
His doctors advised against his participation in the crucial UN climate talks, where his presence had been anticipated. Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni clarified that respiratory tract inflammation prompted the cancellation of the scheduled trip to Dubai, initially planned from Friday to Sunday.
Despite his health setbacks, Pope Francis seized the opportunity to make impassioned pleas for peace in conflict-ridden regions, including Gaza and Ukraine, during the conclusion of Wednesday’s audience. Although visibly laboring to speak, he fervently advocated for an end to ongoing conflicts.
Amidst his challenging health situation, the pontiff found respite in a specially arranged circus performance, featuring skilled acrobats on roller skates.
Earlier interactions during the visit of members from the Celtic football club showcased a slightly improved health status. The pontiff noted feeling “better than yesterday” during these engagements.
Approaching his 87th birthday, Pope Francis has confronted several health hurdles in recent years, ranging from knee and hip discomfort to an inflamed colon. He underwent hernia surgery in June and spent three nights hospitalized for bronchitis in March, requiring antibiotic treatment.
Last Saturday, the Vatican reported “mild flu symptoms,” leading to event cancellations. A subsequent CT scan alleviated concerns of severe lung complications, with the pontiff receiving intravenous antibiotic treatment.
As the pontiff continues to navigate health challenges, his unwavering commitment to his duties and messages of peace serve as a testament to his resilience and determination amidst physical setbacks.