Pope, still nursing a cold, again limits public speaking

Pope, still nursing a cold, again limits public speaking
Pope, still nursing a cold, again limits public speaking

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Pope Francis' health has been an issue over the past two weeks, forcing him to cancel some engagements and avoid reading some speeches. — Reuters pic

VATICAN CITY, March 6 — Pope Francis said today he was still suffering from a cold as he again limited his speaking at a weekly audience in St Peter’s Square, letting an aide read his prepared text.

The 87-year-old’s health has been an issue over the past two weeks, forcing him to cancel some engagements and avoid reading some speeches.

The Vatican said on February 24 he was suffering from mild flu. Last week, Francis paid a brief visit to a hospital in Rome for a CT scan, and on Saturday he said he had bronchitis.

Francis told today’s audience he would delegate readings “because I still have a cold and I cannot read well”. However, he spoke briefly at the end of the event, greeting some of the faithful and pleading for peace in Ukraine and the Middle East.

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Francis, who has trouble walking, arrived in his specially designed vehicle known as the popemobile, and reached his seat walking with a cane. After the audience, he was placed in a wheelchair to greet people. He then tried to climb back into the popemobile but appeared unable to do so, and was helped back into the wheelchair to exit St Peter’s Square.

Francis’ mobility struggles may complicate travel plans for this year, which include trips on unspecified dates to Belgium, East Timor, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. Within Italy he is due to travel to Venice on April 28 and Verona on May 18.

Health issues aside, the pontiff has remained busy in recent days, meeting German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Saturday and making another appeal for an end to the Gaza war on Sunday. — Reuters

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