Pope Is Sick for Third Day After Supporting Coronavirus Sufferers

Pope Francis has a 'slight indisposition,' the Vatican says
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 29, 2020 2:00 PM CST
Pope Is Sick for Third Day After Supporting Coronavirus Sufferers
In this picture taken Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020, Pope Francis wipes his nose during the Ash Wednesday Mass opening Lent, the forty-day period of abstinence and deprivation for Christians before Holy Week and Easter, inside the Basilica of Santa Sabina in Rome.   (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Pope Francis canceled official engagements for the third day in a row Saturday as he battled an apparent cold, the AP reports. The 83-year-old pope, who lost part of a lung to a respiratory illness as a young man, has never canceled so many official audiences or events in his seven-year papacy. Francis is, however, continuing to work from his residence at the Vatican's Santa Marta hotel and is receiving people in private, the Vatican press office said. On Saturday, those private meetings were with the head of the Vatican's bishops' office, Francis' ambassadors to Lebanon and France and a Ukrainian archbishop. Canceled were his two planned official audiences—formal affairs in the Apostolic Palace where Francis would have delivered a speech and greeted a great number of people at the end.

The Vatican called his health issue a "slight indisposition," per Time. Francis last appeared in public on Wednesday, when he was seen coughing and blowing his nose during an Ash Wednesday Mass. The New York Post notes that Francis' illness came right after he expressed support for people with coronavirus on Wednesday; he didn't meet with coronavirus sufferers, but did shake hands with people in the front row at Mass. Some 400 people are confirmed with coronavirus in Italy. Meanwhile, the Daily Star reports that Scottish soccer fans sang an anti-Catholic song Wednesday in the streets of Braga, Portugal, after their team won a Europa League game: "The Pope has got corona, the Pope has got corona," they sang. The head of a Scottish charity called it "dismal, bigoted, moronic behavior."

(Read more Pope Francis stories.)

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