A Vatican spokesman said on Monday that Pope Francis will remain in Rome's Agostino Gemelli Hospital for a few more days as he recovers from intestinal surgery performed more than a week ago.
Francis underwent three hours of planned surgery on July 4 to treat “severe diverticular stenosis with signs of sclerosing diverticulitis,” or a hardening of the sacs that can sometimes form in the lining of the large intestine. A portion of his colon was removed.
Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said that while the pope has completed the course of his post-surgical treatment, he will remain in the hospital to “best optimize the medical and rehabilitation therapy" available there.
In a statement, Bruni said Francis met Sunday with patients of the nearby oncology ward, as well as members of their families. Later, they accompanied the pope on the 10th-floor terrace where he delivered his Sunday blessing, recitation of the Angelus prayer. Afterward, the pope greeted patients on the floor, talking briefly with the medical and nursing staff.
Bruni said the pope’s thoughts were also on the national soccer victories of Italy in the Euro 2020 tournament on Sunday and his home country of Argentina in the Copa América 2021 on Saturday.
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. 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 the pope’s absence, though July is traditionally a month when he cancels public and private audiences.
Some information in this report came from The Associated Press