A Vatican spokesman said Wednesday Pope Francis’ recovery from intestinal surgery continues to be “regular and satisfactory.”
In a statement, Vatican Press Office Director Matteo Bruni said the 84-year-old pope was continuing to eat regularly following his Sunday surgery to remove the left side of his colon, and that intravenous therapy had been stopped.
In a post on his official Twitter account, the pope said “I am touched by the many caring messages received in these days. I thank everyone for their closeness and prayer.”
Bruni said final examination of the affected tissue “confirmed a severe diverticular stenosis with signs of sclerosing diverticulitis,” or a hardening of the sacs that can sometimes form in the lining of the intestine.
Francis underwent three hours of planned surgery Sunday. He is expected to stay in Rome’s Gemelli Polyclinic in the pope’s special suite.
During a White House news briefing Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said U.S. President Joe Biden — a Roman Catholic — wishes the pope “well and a speedy recovery.” Bruni said Francis appreciated all the prayers coming his way.
Francis had been considered healthy overall and this is the first time he has been admitted to the hospital since he became pope in 2013, though he lost the upper part of one lung in his youth because of an infection. He also suffers from sciatica, or nerve pain, that makes him walk with a pronounced limp.
The Vatican has continued normal operations in his absence, though July is traditionally a month when the pope cancels public and private audiences.