Pope Francis is currently at the Gemelli Hospital in Rome for scheduled checkups, according to the director of the Vatican press office, Matteo Bruni, who didn’t give further details this afternoon of March 29, 2023. It was in this hospital that the Argentine Pope underwent colon surgery and was hospitalized for about 10 days in July 2021.
“The Holy Father is since this afternoon at the Gemelli for some tests that were previously scheduled,” the brief note from Bruni, sent at 4:09 p.m., reported. A Vatican source confirmed that the services of the small state are not “on general alert.”
Pope Francis presided normally this morning at the Wednesday general audience in St. Peter’s Square, touring with the popemobile at the beginning of the audience, and standing at the moment of the final blessing. The picture above is from today’s audience, and does show that the Pope’s knee is still painful when he moves from sitting to standing, or vice versa.
Tomorrow, two audiences are on the Pope’s agenda in the late morning.
However, the Pontiff’s agenda has been cleared “so that the exams can continue as long as necessary,” said another Vatican source.
According to the Italian media Il Fatto quotidiano, his appointments for tomorrow and March 31 have been cancelled. The Italian press is also questioning the credibility of checkups pre-scheduled for the eve of Holy Week, the most important week in the Catholic Church. On the other hand, this is the last relatively calm week prior to two extremely intense ones.
In an interview with the Associated Press on January 24, 2023, the Pope said that the diverticulosis for which he had undergone surgery – and which required the removal of 33 centimeters of intestine – “has returned.”
At that time, he joked, “I could die tomorrow, but everything is under control. I am in good health.”
For the past year, the Pope has had pain in his right knee, which has forced him to use a wheelchair most of the time. Following his colon operation, the Pontiff has often confided that he doesn’t feel he responded well to general anesthesia and does not wish to undergo another operation, regardless of the pain in his knee.
[This article was updated after publication]