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Pope Francis: Suffering from acute bronchitis

Photo: Andrew Medichini / AP

Pope Francis has once again commented on his state of health. The 86-year-old head of the Catholic Church reported at an audience in the Vatican that he still suffers from bronchitis, but no longer has a fever. He is still being treated with antibiotics. "As you can see, I'm alive," the pope joked.

Because of the illness, Francis had cancelled his participation in the COP28 world climate conference in Dubai on the advice of his doctors. Actually, he wanted to fly to the Arab Emirate this Friday and be the first pope to give a speech there.

The doctors had also advised him against the trip, which had been planned for three days, because it was very warm in Dubai and there were many air conditioners. Fortunately, however, he does not have pneumonia, but only acute bronchitis, Francis said.

Repeated health problems

The illness had also caused concern because Francis had a severe lung disease at a young age in Argentina. At that time, part of the Argentine's lung was removed after a respiratory infection. In addition, there was conflicting information about his current illness. The Vatican initially spoke of a mild flu – Francis, on the other hand, spoke on Sunday of an "inflammation of the lungs".

The Pope will celebrate his 87th birthday next month. His health has been bothering him for some time now. This year, he has already been treated twice in a clinic: first for pneumonia, then he underwent surgery on his abdomen under general anesthesia. It is possible that Francis will now be connected via video on Saturday for a speech at the climate conference. However, the exact plans are not yet known.