Rome (CNN) Pope Francis He acknowledged the many well wishes the 86-year-old received during his treatment at a hospital Rome Hospital To treat respiratory infection.
In his first tweet acknowledging his illness, Francis said, “I am moved by the many messages I have received in these hours and express my gratitude for the closeness and prayers.”
The Vatican said on Thursday that the pope’s health was “gradually improving” and that he was working at the hospital. “His Holiness Pope Francis rested well overnight. The clinical picture is gradually improving and the planned treatments are continuing. This morning, after breakfast, he read some newspapers and returned to work,” Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said in a statement.
“Before lunch he went to the chapel in the private apartment, where he gathered to pray and receive Holy Communion.”
After his weekly public appearance in St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday, the pope was taken to hospital to undergo a number of examinations. Earlier today, the Vatican said a visit and tests were planned.
“The Holy Father has been at Gemelli since this afternoon for some pre-scheduled exams,” said Bruni.
Soon after, he said Francis’ schedule for Thursday had been cleared “to make room for continued testing if necessary.”
Vatican sources told CNN on Thursday that Pope Francis “slept well” during his first night in the hospital.
In a statement, the Church of Rome expressed “all its closeness and love for its bishop, Pope Francis, and believes in its unceasing prayers, wishing him a speedy recovery.”
The Presidency of the Italian Episcopal Conference on behalf of the Italian bishops said in a statement on Wednesday that bishops in churches across Italy are praying for Francis’ speedy recovery.
“In wishing the Holy Pope a speedy recovery, the Presidency entrusts to God the doctors and medical staff who take care of him and all patients with professionalism and dedication,” she added.
The pope — who was a young man with severe pneumonia and had part of his lung removed — had a recent history of medical problems.
He is often seen carrying a cane and occasionally using a wheelchair due to pain in his right knee. Last year, he canceled a trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan after doctors said he too might have to miss a subsequent trip to Canada unless he agreed to get an extra 20 days of treatment and rest for his knee. He eventually went to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan in February.
Francis also suffers from diverticulitis, a common condition that can cause inflammation or infection of the colon. In 2021, he underwent surgery to remove part of his colon.
In December, Francis revealed that he had already signed his letter of resignation to be used in the event of his “handicap”. Francis made the comment in an interview with Spanish news channel ABC when asked what would happen if the pope suddenly became unable to perform his duties due to health problems or an accident.
Francis said he wrote the letter several years ago and gave it to then Vatican foreign minister Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who resigned in 2013.
Francis was quoted as saying, “I did sign my waiver. The foreign minister at the time was Tarcisio Bertone. I signed it and said: If I become disabled for medical reasons or anything else, here’s my waiver.” Adding that this is the first time he has spoken publicly about the existence of the letter.
Francis said that Pope Paul VI and Pius XII also penned their letters of renunciation in the event of a permanent infirmity.
In 2013, Francis’ immediate predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, made the almost unprecedented decision to resign from office, citing “advancing age” as the cause and astonishing the Catholic world.
It was the first time in nearly 600 years that a pope had stepped down. The last pope to step down before his death was Gregory XII, who resigned in 1415 to end a civil war within the Church in which more than one man claimed to be pope.
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