Monday, April 01, 2024

Holy See Attempts to Assuage Doubts About the Pope's Health

Concerns for Pope's health as audiences cancelled: Vatican says no cause  for alarm - Catholic Herald

The director of the Gemelli clinic publicly discussed the Pope's health in what appears to be a communication strategy organized by the Holy See to defuse persistent rumors about the deterioration in the Roman Pontiff’s health. 

The latter showed obvious signs of fatigue during the Palm Sunday celebration on March 24, 2024.

On March 25, 2024, Dr. Sergio Alfieri – who had the duty of operating on Pope Francis twice in the last three years, in July 2021 and June 2023 – spoke in Corriere della Sera .

The practitioner explains that “the Holy Father is well consistent with his age and his occasional breathing difficulties in the colder periods, also due to the previous lung surgery he underwent many years ago.”

The Pope does not suffer from any serious illness and is regularly monitored, this is the intended message that the doctor who also directs the Gemelli Hospital in which the Roman pontiffs have become accustomed to receiving the most important medical care since the attack against John Paul II in May 1981. 

“I do not see him [the Holy Father] every day, but I can assure you that he has no particular illnesses. He undergoes periodic checks,” says Sergio Alfieri.

Fr. Enzo Fortunato, a spokesman for St. Peter's Basilica, made the collowing comments in Vatican Insider: “Before the recitation of the Passion of Jesus before the crosses of the world, before the recollection of thousands of pilgrims from all over the world, the Pope probably preferred an eloquent silence which was more incisive, in my opinion, than many words,” declared the priest.

For the surgeon who operated on the Holy Father, the papal silence of Palm Sunday must be placed in the context of the immense responsibilities of Peter's successor: “He is a man with the responsibilities as the head of state in the Vatican. When he appears at his window, he addresses more than a billion and a half Catholics, something that does not exactly to everyone his age.”

The current communication from the Vatican on the Pope's health should be compared to the autobiography that the Pope has just published. 

Addressing the recurring speculations on medical problems which could compromise the end of his Pontificate, Francis insists that he does not suffer from any problem which would require a resignation on his part.

The fact remains that Pope Francis did not go to the Colosseum on Good Friday evening for the Stations of the Cross, even though, for the first time in his pontificate, he had written the meditations himself. 

The official reason was to “preserve his health in view of the Vigil and Holy Mass on Easter Sunday.”