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While he walked into Paul VI Hall for the general audience this November 29, the Pope said he is still affected by “this flu” and asked a prelate to read his catechesis. Just over 12 hours ago, the Vatican announced the cancellation of the Pope’s trip to Dubai for COP28, due to the recommendation of the Pope’s doctors.
“As I’m still not feeling well with this flu and my voice isn’t good, it will be Monsignor Ciampanelli who reads,” the Pope explained at the start of the general audience.
On Saturday, the 86-year-old Pontiff reported a “slight flu” and went to the hospital for a CT scan to rule out pneumonia. The scan came back showing inflammation (not pneumonia) and the Pope was given IV antibiotics.
After the catechesis this morning, the Holy Father did not himself give the customary greetings and appeals, except for another plea for peace in the Holy Land, though this he interrupted with a bit of a cough.
And please, let us continue to pray for the grave situation in Israel and Palestine: Peace, please, peace. I hope that the ongoing truce in Gaza will continue, so that all hostages will be released and access to necessary humanitarian aid will still be allowed. I heard from the parish there: There is a lack of water, a lack of bread, and people are suffering. It is the simple people, the people who suffer. It is not those who make war who suffer. We ask for peace. And let us not forget, speaking of peace, the dear Ukrainian people, who suffer so much, still at war.
Brothers and sisters, war always is a defeat. Everybody loses. … Well everyone? No: there is one group that gains so much: the arms manufacturers; these gain a lot from the death of others.
A bit of joy
At the end of the audience, a circus troupe offered a performance, and for this the Pope was all smiles. “The circus expresses a dimension of the human soul: that of gratuitous joy, simple joy, made with the mystique of play,” commented the Pontiff, though with some tiredness in his voice. He encouraged a big round of applause, mentioning the demanding training that goes into a circus performance.
A message for today
In his catechesis, the Holy Father continued his reflection on Evangelii Gaudium, wrapping up this series on sharing the Gospel.
Today he considered how the Gospel is good news for today, it is “alive today here for us.”
Aware of this, let us therefore look at our age and our culture as a gift. They are ours, and evangelizing them does not mean judging them from afar, nor is it standing on a balcony and shouting out Jesus’ name, but rather going down onto the streets, going to the places where one lives, frequenting the spaces where one suffers, works, studies and reflects, inhabiting the crossroads where human beings share what has meaning for their lives. … Let us make Jesus’ desire our own: to help fellow travelers not to lose the desire for God, to open their hearts to Him and find the only One who, today and always, gives peace and joy to humanity.