Pope Francis has ‘mild flu,’ cancels Saturday morning meetings

Pope Francis at his general audience earlier this week on Nov. 22, 2023. / Daniel Ibanez/CNA

Vatican City, Nov 25, 2023 / 05:28 am (CNA).

Pope Francis is sick and is not taking part in his scheduled meetings on Saturday morning, according to the Vatican.

“The Holy Father’s audiences scheduled for this morning are canceled due to a mild flu,” said the Nov. 26 statement from the Holy See Press Office.

It’s the second time this month that the 86-year-old pope’s activity has been affected by illness.

On Nov. 6, the pope had a cold and did not read his prepared remarks at an audience with Jewish rabbis from Europe, deciding to hand over the text instead.

“Thank you for this visit that I appreciate very much, but it happens that I am not well in health and that is why I prefer not to read the speech but give it to you,” the pope reportedly said at the time.

Pope Francis, however, was able to continue with his full schedule for the rest of the day, including a meeting with 7,000 children from over 80 countries.

The pope, who turns 87 next month, has experienced a number of medical setbacks in recent years. He has been hospitalized on more than one occasion, most recently in June 2023 for abdominal surgery. In late March, he was treated for bronchitis for several days, quipping on his April 1 release, “I’m still alive you know.”

In this morning’s memo, the Vatican gave no indication if there would be further changes to the pope’s schedule due to his health. According to a schedule available to journalists, he had been set to meet with Umaro Issoco Embaló, the president of Guinea Bassau in West Africa this morning.

The pope is scheduled to travel to the United Arab Emirates on Dec. 1 to participate in the COP28 United Nations Climate Change Conference.

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