Pope on the mend as antibiotics target bronchitis
A Jesuit who seems most happy being among his flock, Francis continues to travel internationally and keep a busy schedule.
But he has been forced to use a wheelchair and walking stick in the past year because of knee pain, and admitted last summer that he had to slow down.
He said on Thursday that he was “touched by the many messages” he was receiving in hospital, thanking on Twitter those praying for his recovery.
Among them is United States President Joe Biden, only the second Catholic president in US history.
“Jill and I are keeping Pope Francis in our prayers and send our best wishes for his swift and full recovery,” Biden tweeted.
“The world needs Pope Francis.”
Francis was admitted in July 2021 to the same Rome hospital for 10 days for a colon operation after suffering from a type of diverticulitis, an inflammation of pockets that develop in the lining of the intestine.
In an interview in January, the pope said that the diverticulitis had returned.
Francis has repeatedly said that he would consider stepping down if his health required it, following the example of his predecessor Benedict XVI.
The German theologian, who died on Dec 31 last year, shocked the world in 2013 by becoming the first pope since the Middle Ages to resign.
Francis has cautioned, however, that papal resignations should not be the norm, and said in an interview in February that the idea was not currently on his agenda.