Pope to leave hospital after ‘eating pizza for dinner’

Pope Francis is expected to be discharged on Saturday from the Rome hospital where he is being treated for bronchitis, the Vatican has said.

Spokesman Matteo Bruni said the Francis’s recovery has been “normal” and he ate a pizza for dinner on Thursday.

Francis, 86, was admitted to Gemelli Polyclinic, where doctors said the pontiff was receiving antibiotics intravenously to treat his bronchitis, on Wednesday.

The hospital admission came four days before Palm Sunday — the start of Holy Week.

Due to a chronic knee problem, Francis had already largely stopped celebrating Mass at major Catholic Church holy days but continued to preside at the ceremonies and deliver homilies.

Italian Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re said on Friday that Francis may be able to preside over — but not celebrate — Holy Week ceremonies.

“On the basis of the information I have, he’ll leave Gemelli tomorrow, so he’ll be able to preside over all the Holy Week rituals,” Italian news agency Adnkronos quoted the cardinal as saying.

Pope Francis is expected to be discharged on Saturday from the Rome hospital where he is being treated for bronchitis, the Vatican has said.
Pope Francis at St. Peter’s square on March 29, 2023 in The Vatican.Vincenzo Pinto / AFP via Getty Images

It is unclear, though, if Francis, even when back at the Vatican, will be able to preside over or attend Holy Week observances.

They include a stamina-taxing late night Way of the Cross procession marked by prayers on Good Friday at the Colosseum in Rome and Easter Mass on April 9, which is traditionally followed by a long papal speech delivered from the central balcony of St Peter’s Basilica.

During Wednesday’s hour-long public audience, Francis at times appeared visibly in pain when he moved about and was helped by aides.

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