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Pope Francis unable to climb his Popemobile amidst respiratory, mobility problems

By Chris Thompson

Pope Francis, who is 87 years old, continued to struggle with persistent respiratory and mobility issues on Wednesday, requested an aide to read his words as he was unable to get back into his popemobile.

For the first time this year, Francis presided over his weekly general audience in a frigid St. Peter’s Square outside. However, as he has been doing for the last few days, he had an assistant read his catechism lesson.

Francis visited the hospital on Wednesday of last week for an unidentified diagnostic test; the test results are still confidential.

This winter, Francis has been intermittently ill with what he and the Vatican have described as a cold, episodes of bronchitis, and the flu.

Francis had a CAT scan late in the year, ruling out pneumonia, but a severe case of infectious bronchitis still prompted the pope to postpone a trip to the Gulf.

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Francis has additionally been dealing with a knee fracture and inflammation of its ligaments, which forced him to utilise a wheelchair beginning in 2022. However, he has typically been able to move around with the aid of assistants to help him stand up and a cane or walker.

But on Wednesday, even with his hands gripping the handrails, Francis didn’t seem to be able to ascend the short steps to board his popemobile after his audience.

With haste, Aides returned his wheelchair and took a seat again. After greeting the assembly, he was wheeled out of the piazza.

The Argentine frequently talks in a whisper, even when he is not ill, having had part of one lung removed when he was a young man due to a respiratory ailment.

He underwent surgery last year to treat an abdominal hernia and remove intestinal scar tissue. In 2021, he had a portion of his colon removed.

Chris Thompson
Chris Thompson
Chris Thompson is an international writer with expertise in politics, business and public affairs.

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