Pope Francis Goes In for Surgery

Intestinal procedure had been planned, Vatican says
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 4, 2021 9:30 AM CDT
Pope Francis Goes In for Surgery
Pope Francis waves to the crowd as he arrives Sunday to recite the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican.   (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Pope Francis went Sunday to a Rome hospital for scheduled surgery for a stenosis, or restriction, of the large intestine, the Vatican said. The brief announcement from the Holy See's press office didn’t say exactly when the surgery would be performed but said there would be an announcement when the surgery is complete. Just three hours earlier, Francis had cheerfully greeted the public in St. Peter's Square in keeping with a Sunday tradition and announced he will go to Hungary and Slovakia in September, the AP reports. A week earlier, Francis, 84, had used the same appearance to ask the faithful for special prayers for himself, which, in hindsight might have been hinting at the planned surgery at Rome's Gemelli Polyclinic.

The Vatican said the pope had been diagnosed with "symptomatic diverticular stenosis of the colon," a reference to a narrowing in the large intestine. Francis is in generally good health, but did have part of one lung removed as a young man. He also suffers from sciatica, occasionally having painful bouts of the condition that involves a nerve affecting the lower back and leg. Gemelli doctors have performed surgery before on papal patients, including Pope John Paul II, who had a benign tumor in his colon removed in 1992.

(More Pope Francis stories.)

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