Pope Francis Suddenly Drops Out of Major Event over ‘Health’ Problems

Pope Francis suddenly dropped out of attending a major Christian event in Italy over the weekend, citing unspecified “health” problems.

The pope made a significant adjustment to his schedule on Good Friday, opting to remain at home instead of leading the Stations of the Cross at Rome’s Colosseum, as initially planned.

The Vatican Press Office announced the decision.

The statement cited the pope’s desire to conserve his health for upcoming events, notably the Vigil and Holy Mass on Easter Sunday.

This announcement came unexpectedly at the last minute, following an earlier confirmation of the pontiff’s participation.

Vatican News noted that Francis had also forgone the Viacrucis ceremony in 2023, with Cardinal Angelo de Donatis stepping in at the Colosseum.

The 87-year-old Pope has encountered several recent health challenges, occasionally relying on aides to deliver prepared speeches.

Last weekend, for instance, Francis decided at the last minute against delivering his Palm Sunday homily, although by Thursday, he seemed to have recovered.

He presided over both the Chrism Mass in the morning and the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper in person.

In February, the pope canceled all scheduled activities twice due to persistent flu, according to statements from the Vatican Press Office.

In January, Francis attended a meeting with Catholic communicators from France but refrained from delivering his prepared remarks due to bronchitis.

Similar respiratory issues led to the cancellation of his trip to Dubai in early December, where he was scheduled to address the COP28 U.N. Climate Change Conference.

Despite these challenges, the Vatican has confirmed the pope’s intention to travel to Venice on April 28.

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During this visit, he plans to greet artists participating in the annual Biennale exhibition and inaugurate the Vatican pavilion sponsored by the Dicastery for Culture and Education.

The decision to alter his Good Friday plans underscores ongoing concerns about Pope Francis’s health.

While the Vatican downplayed the significance of his absence, pointing out his previous non-participation in 2023, the frequency of recent cancellations and adjustments has raised questions about his well-being.

Nevertheless, the pope was able to fulfill some essential duties, such as presiding over Easter services.

Francis entered St Peter’s Basilica in his wheelchair, took his place in a chair, and offered up the opening prayer.

Sounding congested and out of breath at times, the pontiff blessed an Easter candle, the flame of which was then shared with other candles in the cathedral.

Over an hour later, Francis delivered a 10-minute homily in a strong voice, clearing his throat occasionally.

The pope used his traditional Easter message to call for a “ceasefire” in the Gaza Strip.

The pontiff pleaded not to “yield to the logic of weapons and rearming.”

“Peace is never made with arms, but with outstretched hands and open hearts,” he said.

Tens of thousands of worshippers gathered in St Peter’s Square to hear the Pope.

Francis said: “I appeal once again that access to humanitarian aid be ensured to Gaza, and call once more for the prompt release of the hostages seized on 7 October and for an immediate ceasefire in the Strip.”

Referring to the impact of the war on civilians, beginning with children, he said:

“How much suffering we see in their eyes!

“With those eyes, they ask us: ‘Why? Why all this death? Why all this destruction? War is always an absurdity and a defeat.'”

Pope Francis also warned countries against re-arming themselves and spoke about the ongoing conflict in Ukraine just over two years since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of its neighbor.

READ MORE – Conservative Bishop Removed for Accusing Pope of ‘Undermining’ Christian Faith with Liberal Agenda

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By Nick R. Hamilton

Nick has a broad background in journalism, business, and technology. He covers news on cryptocurrency, traditional assets, and economic markets.

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