Pope’s Doctors Say He’s on the Mend, but Advise Rest and No Events

The doctor said that it would take three months for the pope to heal completely, and that Francis had decided to have the surgery now so that he would be well enough to attend events later in the summer. Francis is scheduled to visit Portugal from Aug. 2-6 for World Youth Day events, and Mongolia from Aug. 31 to Sept. 4. The Vatican said this past week that all of Francis’ public and private audiences had been canceled until June 18 as a precautionary measure.

“From a medical point of view,” Dr. Alfieri said, “he’ll be able to handle his commitments both inside and outside the Holy See better than before.”

Dr. Alfieri also sought to quash recurrent rumors about the pope’s health as concerns grew worldwide after his hospitalization, his third at Gemelli in two years.

“Let me say as a medical professional, that, for his age, the pope, 86 years old, does not have heart problems, nor does he have important respiratory problems,” Dr. Alfieri said. Aside from a problem with his knee, which means that Francis often walks with a cane or uses a wheelchair, “from the cardio-respiratory point of view, he doesn’t, and never has, have a serious problem,” he said.

Asked about the pope’s mood, Dr. Alfieri replied: “Excellent. It’s a pleasure and a privilege to be in contact with him.”

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