ROME – After undergoing an abdominal surgery at Rome’s Gemelli Hospital last week, Pope Francis continues to recover well, according to Vatican officials, and is expected to be discharged by the end of the week.
In a June 14 statement, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni reported that the pontiff “rested well during the night” and that according to the pope’s medical team, “his post-operatory course is proceeding normally, without complications, and therefore his discharge is being planned in the coming days.”
The emphasis on there not being any complications likely comes after rumors circulated in Rome Wednesday morning to the effect that Pope Francis, who has been undergoing respiratory therapy the past few days, had a respiratory attack.
No mention of respiratory therapy was made during Wednesday’s Vatican statement, with Bruni reporting that the pontiff dedicated his morning “to work activities,” and that he spent time in personal prayer inside the small chapel in the papal apartment at Gemelli before receiving the Eucharist.
For the past week, the pope has largely spent his time working and reading texts, as well as in prayer, according to the daily medical bulletins provided by the Vatican.
The Vatican’s announcement that the pope is expected to be discharged also comes after an email reportedly sent by Italian Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, Dean of the College of Cardinals, to all other cardinals circulated in the Italian media saying the pope would be discharged Thursday or Friday.
In the email, Re told his fellow prelates that Francis “is recovering well in his health and will return to the Vatican from Gemelli the day after tomorrow, Thursday or Friday. I spoke with the Holy Father, and I assured him of the cordial closeness of all of the cardinals.”
Pope Francis was admitted to Gemelli Hospital June 7 following his weekly general audience to undergo surgery on an abdominal hernia at the incision point of a previous surgery, which was causing him progressive pain and discomfort.
The procedure marked the pope’s fourth surgery and his second in two years, having undergone an invasive colon surgery in July 2021. It was also his second hospitalization this year, after a brief recovery at the Gemelli in late March for bronchitis.
In addition to his surgeries, Francis also suffers from chronic sciatica and from knee pain which for the past year has largely confined him to a wheelchair or the use of a cane.
Though he will continue to have public audiences and meetings for the rest of June, Pope Francis is expected to take the month of July off for vacation and recovery, before making several international trips in August, including visits to both Portugal and Mongolia.