Pope Francis will have to undergo stomach surgery and stay in the hospital for several days


Pope Francis He underwent surgery on his stomach and will remain in a Rome hospital for several days, the Vatican said Wednesday in the latest health concern for the 86-year-old pontiff.

The Pope was forced to cancel several work commitments in late May after being weakened by the flu, and he was hospitalized for bronchitis in March, but responded well to antibiotics.

Francis joked that he was the one who left the hospital on that occasion “Still alive.”

Technically called a laparotomy, Wednesday’s procedure is aimed under general anesthesia and to repair the hernia, which the Vatican said causes “persistent, painful and worsening” symptoms.

According to medical sources, this intervention may be related to the surgery Francis underwent in 2021 to remove half of his colon.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said the pope is expected to make a “full functional recovery.”

Vatican Pool/Getty Images

Francis, who will be in St. Peter’s Square on May 31, 2023, has suffered several medical setbacks in recent months.

In addition to his colon surgery two years ago, Francis had part of a lung removed after a severe battle with pneumonia as a teenager. Most recently, in 2019, he underwent eye surgery at Rome’s Pius XI Clinic to treat cataracts. He also struggled with chronic sciatica pain.

Over the past year, he has experienced knee problems that have limited him to mostly using a cane or wheelchair.

Anytime Francis is incapacitated, the Vatican faces a constitutional crisis of some sort. There is no “co-pope” in the Catholic system, meaning someone who can exercise the pope’s authority in his absence.

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The Vatican’s secretary of state, currently Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin, can oversee routine day-to-day administration, but he has no authority to appoint bishops or create or suppress dioceses around the world.

In an interview with the Spanish daily ABC in December, Francis said shortly after his election in 2013 that he had already prepared a letter of resignation on a case of permanent medical disability.

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