In an audience with a delegation from the Conference of European Rabbis on November 6, 2023, Pope Francis said he was not “feeling well” and would thus not read the speech he had prepared for the occasion. The director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, said the Pope “has a bit of a cold” and wanted to “greet the European rabbis individually.” The other audiences on the Pope’s agenda will continue as normal.
“Thank you for this visit, which I like very much, but it happens that I am not feeling well and therefore prefer not to read the speech but to give it to you and for you to take it,” the Pope said in a hoarse voice, as could be heard from the audio being broadcasted live in the Holy See Press Office.
The Pontiff, who will be turning 87-years-old on December 17, had greeted his guests and welcomed them as he expressed his delight at their visit.
“Pope Francis has a bit of a cold and a long day of audiences,” Matteo Bruni explained in a statement to journalists. The Pope had wanted to “greet the European rabbis individually and therefore delivered the address [in written form]. Otherwise, the Pope’s activities continue as normal,” he added.
The Pontiff has several meetings today
Prior to this meeting, Pope Francis had received the President of Catalonia, Pere Aragonès i Garcia. The Spanish delegation reported that the meeting lasted around 40 minutes and that one of the topics discussed was the conflict in the Holy Land.
After the meeting with the rabbis, the Pope met with the Italian association of the Little Houses of Mercy in Gela, to whom he read his speech and added a few improvised comments.
This afternoon, the Argentine Pontiff is due to meet 7,000 children from around the world in the Paul VI Audience Hall.
Pope Francis has been hospitalized twice this year, in March for pneumonia and in June for a surgery on his abdomen. In an interview with Italian TV channel Rai1, broadcast on November 1, the Pontiff was reassuring about his health. “Now I am very well; I can eat anything,” he said, in reference to his recovering from colon surgery.