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Pope in ‘good and stable’ condition after lung inflammation diagnosis, Vatican says

Pope Francis is receiving antibiotics to treat lung inflammation, the Vatican said Monday. The health update came after the pontiff canceled his weekly window appointment to greet people in St. Peter’s Square, sparking concerns for the pope, whose 87th birthday is next month.

After Pope Francis began exhibiting respiratory difficulties, he was transported Saturday to a Rome hospital, where he underwent a CT scan that ultimately ruled out pneumonia, according to Matteo Bruni, the Vatican’s press office director.

The next day, Francis gave his weekly blessing from the chapel of his residence. During the televised remarks, the pope revealed he had lung inflammation. He was seen with a bandage on his hand and an IV tube used to administer the antibiotics. During the Angelus noon prayer, Pope Francis was also seen coughing and covering his face.

“The pope’s condition is good and stable, he does not have a fever and his respiratory condition is decidedly improving,” Bruni said, according to Reuters. “To facilitate the pope’s recovery, some important engagements that were scheduled for these days have been postponed so that he can dedicate his time and energy (to recovery).”

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The Vatican said later that his activities over the next few days would be limited in order for the Pope to conserve his strength.

Appointments “of institutional character or easier to maintain given the current health conditions have been maintained,” Bruni said.

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Details about which appointments would be held or which would be postponed were not provided.

On Monday, Pope Francis held an international meeting with the president of Paraguay, Santiago Peña. 

The private, half-hour-long meeting was held at the Vatican guest house, where the pope lives, rather than the Apostolic Palace, where such meetings are traditionally held.

On Friday, Pope Francis kept an appointment at the Apostolic Palace, when he met with Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides, First Lady Philippa Karsera, and others. 

Francis has also indicated that he intends to go ahead with a three-day trip, beginning on Dec. 1, to the United Arab Emirates. During the trip, the pope is expected to deliver a speech on climate change at the United Nations COP28 climate talks in Dubai.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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