The Vatican said Pope Francis canceled an audience and skipped speeches he was scheduled to give on Thursday because of a bad cold.
Francis, 86, met with young Orthodox priests and religious and members of the Max Planck Association, the German research organization that will celebrate its 75th anniversary this year. But because of a “severe cold,” Francis only printed copies of his remarks and did not read them aloud, the Vatican said in a note.
He then canceled a planned audience with members of an Italian YMCA group, the Holy See said in its daily newsletter.
On Wednesday, Francis coughed repeatedly during Ash Wednesday services he presided over at a Roman church, and decided not to participate in the church’s traditional procession that opens Lent.
At this time of 2020, just as the coronavirus pandemic began to hit Italy, Pope Francis also caught a bad cold that forced him to cancel several days of official audience and participation in the annual Vatican retreat. . The Vatican has prepared this year’s retreat to prioritize individual spiritual exercises.
The Argentinian pontiff had part of his lung removed at a young age because of a respiratory infection, and in 2021 he had to have part of his colon removed because of enteritis. He has been using a wheelchair and cane since last year because of strained knee ligaments and a small crack in his knee making walking and standing difficult.