Update: Pope Francis Has ‘Mild Flu,’ Cancels Saturday Morning Meetings

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

Pope Francis at his general audience earlier this week on Nov. 22, 2023.
Pope Francis at his general audience earlier this week on Nov. 22, 2023. (photo: Daniel Ibanez/CNA / EWTN)

Pope Francis went to the hospital this afternoon for precautionary testing after coming down with the flu earlier in the day, according to the Vatican.

“In the early hours of the afternoon, Pope Francis underwent a CT scan at the Gemelli Isola Hospital in Rome, to exclude the risk of pulmonary complications,” the Holy See Press Office said in a Nov. 25 communication to journalists.

“The test gave a negative result and the pope returned to Casa Santa Marta,” the message concluded.

The announcement of the Pope’s hospital visit followed an earlier communication from the Vatican that the Pope would not take part in his scheduled meetings on Saturday morning due to illness.

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

The Vatican’s daily bulletin, released at noon Rome time, did not note any papal activity for that morning, though the pope had been scheduled to meet with Umaro Issoco Embaló, the president of Guinea-Bissau.  

No additional information has been shared regarding the Pope’s ability to participate in scheduled events going forward, such as tomorrow’s Angelus greeting.

The 86-year old Pope Francis is scheduled to travel to the United Arab Emirates Dec. 1–3 to participate in the COP28 United Nations Climate Change Conference.

The day’s events mark the second time this month that the 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 give attendees copies of 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 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.”

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