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Pope Francis again cancels event, citing ailment

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis canceled a planned visit to one of Rome’s main hospitals Friday, the third time this month the 77-year-old has skipped or scaled back an event due to illness or fatigue.

Francis had been due to visit the Gemelli hospital and celebrate a Mass there Friday afternoon. But nearly an hour after he was due to arrive, the Vatican issued a statement saying he was canceling the trip due to an “unexpected indisposition.”

Pope Francis hugs a group of Spanish children coming from Madrid at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, June 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

The Argentine-born pontiff has only one full lung and suffers from a bad back that can make walking painful. Earlier this month, he skipped two days of audiences due to a stomach bug, then decided not to walk a mile-long procession last week to rest up for a grueling trip to southern Italy.

He held up remarkably well during the hot, 12-hour trip to Calabria, even getting out of his car along the road at one point to bless a sick young man who was wheeled up to his motorcade on a stretcher.

He has another busy weekend ahead of him, including audiences on Saturday and a major Mass on Sunday in St. Peter’s Square.

The Vatican has insisted the pope isn’t suffering from any major health issues, pointing to his busy schedule and plans for a whirlwind trip to South Korea in August.

 

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