The vatican spokesman

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Fr. Lombardi Denies Rumors Pope Has Brain Tumor

Calls Circulated Reports ‘Unfounded,’ ‘Gravely Irresponsible,’ ‘Unworthy of Attention’

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The Director of the Holy See Press Office, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, has denied Italian media reports saying Pope Francis has a brain tumor. 

The Vatican spokesman called the reports “unfounded” in a statement he issued this morning after an Italian newspaper had reported that Pope Francis had sought treatment for a tumor.

“The circulation of entirely unfounded news regarding the health of the Holy Father by an Italian newspaper,” Fr. Lombardi stated, “is gravely irresponsible and unworthy of attention.”

The Vatican spokesman concluded his statement, noting that, “Furthermore, as is clearly evident, Pope Francis is carrying out his very intense activity in a totally normal way.” 

Father Lombardi later released an updated statement:

Statement by the Director of the Holy See Press Office regarding false information on the health of the Holy Father

I fully confirm my previous statement, having verified the facts with the appropriate sources, including the Holy Father.

No Japanese doctor has visited the Pope in the Vatican and there have been no examinations of the type indicated in the article.

The competent offices have confirmed that there have been no arrivals of external parties in the Vatican by helicopter; similarly, there were no arrivals of this type during the month of January.

I am able to confirm that the Pope is in good health.

I reiterate that the publication of this false information is a grave act of irresponsibility, absolutely inexcusable and unconscionable. It would be equally unjustifiable to continue to fuel similarly unfounded information. It is hoped, therefore, that this matter be closed immediately.

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': or

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