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Vatican: Pope Francis cancels meetings to recover from illness

Pope Francis speaks during his general audience in Saint Peter's Square, Vatican City, on Wednesday. He canceled some meetings Monday because of illness. Photo by Alessandro di Meo/EPA-EFE
Pope Francis speaks during his general audience in Saint Peter's Square, Vatican City, on Wednesday. He canceled some meetings Monday because of illness. Photo by Alessandro di Meo/EPA-EFE

Nov. 27 (UPI) -- Lung inflammation and breathing difficulties forced Pope Francis to cancel several meetings, the Vatican said Monday.

The pontiff lost part of his lung because of an illness 50 years ago, but it was unclear if his current symptoms were related. Physicians performed a CT scan Saturday at Gemelli Hospital to check for pneumonia and started receiving antibiotics intravenously, said Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office.

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"The pope's condition is good and stationary. He has no fever and his respiratory situation is clearly improving," Bruni said.

Francis appeared on a video link for his Sunday Angelus address. The pope recited the Angelus prayer from the chapel at his residence at the Casa Santa Marta, to avoid exposure to the cold weather, the Vatican said.

"Today, I cannot look out of the window because I have this problem of inflammation in my lungs," Francis said. "The reflection will be read by Monsignor Braida, who knows them well because it is he who writes them, and he always does them so well. Thank you very much for your presence."

Monsignor Paolo Braida, head of the coordination office for pontifical speeches at the Secretariat of State of the Holy See, then read the prepared catechesis, with the pontiff giving the final blessing.

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Bruni said "some important engagements" have been postponed while Francis recovers over the next several days.

Francis, 86, has struggled with medical challenges in recent years. He had abdominal surgery in June and has been hospitalized on several occasions.

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