(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 11.28.2023).-Pope Francis had planned to visit Dubai from December 1st to 3rd to participate in the World Climate Summit, closing out his 2023 engagements with this trip. However, on the morning of Saturday, November 25th, it was announced that the Pope’s health was not at its best. The Holy See Press Office stated that, due to health reasons, the Pope’s agenda for that day was canceled. In the afternoon of the same Saturday, November 25th, more information emerged: in the early afternoon, Pope Francis underwent a CT scan at Gemelli Hospital to rule out the risk of pulmonary complications. The test came back negative, and the Pope returned to Casa Santa Marta.
The following day, the Pope did not appear at the pontifical apartment window for the Angelus prayer. He also did not deliver the speech himself but allowed a priest to do so. Among the few words he spoke, some were alarming: “Today, I cannot come to the window because I have this problem of inflammation in the lungs.”
To provide further clarity on the situation, on Monday, November 27th, the spokesperson for the Holy See Press Office confirmed that the CT scan ruled out pneumonia but showed lung inflammation causing some respiratory difficulties. It was explained that, for a more effective treatment, a needle-catheter was inserted for the infusion of intravenous antibiotic therapy. The spokesperson added, “The Pope’s condition is good and stable; he has no fever, and his respiratory situation is clearly improving.”
However, as the spokesperson also mentioned, “To facilitate the Pope’s recovery, some important commitments scheduled for these days have been postponed so that he can dedicate the time and energy he desires. Others, of an institutional nature or easier to bear given his current health status, have been maintained.” Thus, between Monday, November 27th, and Tuesday, November 28th, the Pope received the President of Paraguay, a Brazilian football team, and the Spanish episcopate.
But on the afternoon of Tuesday, November 28th, just days before the planned trip to Dubai, Matteo Bruni, the Pope’s spokesperson, informed accredited media that “Although Pope Francis’s overall clinical condition regarding the flu and inflammation of the respiratory tract has improved, doctors have asked the Pope not to undertake the planned trip to Dubai in the coming days for the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.” He confirmed that “Pope Francis has reluctantly accepted the doctors’ request, so the trip is canceled. Since the Pope and the Holy See remain willing to participate in the discussions taking place in the coming days, the modalities for this will be defined as soon as possible.”