Pope Francis cancels trip to UN climate conference on doctors’ orders


VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis canceled his trip to Dubai united nations climate conference on doctors’ orders on Tuesday, even though he is recovering from flu and inflammation of the lungs, the Vatican said.

Francis, who turns 87 next month, was scheduled to leave Rome on Friday to address COP28 meeting First thing on Saturday morning. Before returning home on Sunday, he also had to inaugurate an Aastha Mandap on the sidelines of the conference.

The Pope revealed on Sunday that his lungs were swollen but at the time he said he still planned to Dubai, where he was to become the first Pope to address a United Nations climate conference. Caring for the environment has been a priority for Francis, and he has been welcomed by presidents and chancellors alike moral leadership on the issue,

Until the announcement late Tuesday, all information from the Vatican indicated the trip would go ahead. A Vatican spokesman held his traditional pre-trip briefing earlier in the day and asked questions about Francis’ planned bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the Dubai conference. The Vatican travel agency accepted payment for journalists to fly on the papal plane, and the Vatican press office finalized accreditation details.

The announcement marks the second time the Pope has had to cancel a trip abroad due to ill health: he had to postpone a planned trip to Congo and South Sudan in 2022 due to knee inflammation, although he was able to do so. travel earlier this year.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said Francis’ flu and respiratory inflammation, which led to his decision, were improving. cancel his audience Saturday. But “doctors have told the Pope not to plan a trip to Dubai in the coming days.

“Pope Francis accepted the doctors’ request with great regret and therefore the trip has been cancelled,” he said.

Francis had part of one lung removed when he was young and appears to have suffered from respiratory problems. He is also having trouble walking due to strain in his knee ligaments, due to which he has to use a cane or a wheelchair.

Francis became ill with the flu last weekend. After canceling his audience on Saturday – which also included the visiting leader of Guinea Bissau – he went to the hospital for a CAT scan, and the Vatican said the test had ruled out pneumonia.

On Sundays, to escape the cold he abandoned his traditional appearance at the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter’s Square. Instead, Francis gave the traditional afternoon blessing televised from the chapel of the Vatican hotel where he stays and asked a priest to read his written daily thoughts aloud.

He coughed and whimpered, and wore a cannula through which he was receiving antibiotics intravenously. Hiring a substitute speaker was a first for this Pope and he recalled how St. John Paul II often had other bishops read his remarks in his final years, when he was struggling with the effects of Parkinson’s disease.

People who saw Francis this week said his health was improving but he still spoke in a whisper.

In April, the Pope spent three days in Rome’s Gemelli hospital after having trouble breathing, which the Vatican said was bronchitis. He was discharged after receiving intravenous antibiotics.

Francis spent 10 days in the same hospital in July 2021 after undergoing surgery for a bowel narrowing. He was re-admitted in June this year an operation To repair abdominal hernia and remove wounds from previous surgery.

When asked about his health In a recent interview, Francis quipped in response with what has become his standard line – “Still alive!”


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