Pope Francis cancels planned appearance as health concerns mount

Amid recent health concerns that have necessitated a serious surgical procedure, word has come from the Vatican that Pope Francis, 84, would have to miss the scheduled celebration of Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica on Sunday, which was set to be held in observance of Grandparents’ Day, as Breitbart reports.

The Mass had been on the pope’s itinerary for quite some time, but physicians determined that his ongoing recovery process would benefit from some additional time off, as Vatican sources reportedly explained to Europa Press.

Though in this instance, representatives for the pope attempted to downplay the significance of the schedule adjustment, calling the move a “purely post-operative routine,” but ever since it was announced that the Catholic leader had entered the Gemelli Polyclinic Hospital in Rome for intestinal surgery on July 4, speculation has run rampant about the true state of his health.

The pope had initially been expected to stay in the hospital for roughly a week after the procedure that resulted in the removal of half of his colon, as NPR noted, but he actually remained in the facility for an additional few days.

As Breitbart further reported, Luis Badilla of Vatican news aggregation outlet Il Sismografo published a piece earlier this month that seemed to confirm lingering suspicious of the seriousness of the pope’s current condition.

Referring to the pope’s health concerns as “severe and degenerative,” and potentially also “chronic,” Badilla explained that an operation that was meant to be a straightforward laparoscopic procedure ultimately needed to be far more invasive to address the situation.

“Certainly the Holy Father will return to the Vatican to resume his journey in the footsteps of Peter but he will never be the same again,” Badilla said in the wake of the pope’s procedure, according to the Washington Times.

Even more alarmingly, in mid-July, Jesuit Father and senior analyst at Religion News Service, Thomas Reese, suggested that “the hospitalization of Pope Francis marks the beginning of the end of his papacy,” also stating that “it will be miraculous if he is able to continue as pope for another five years.”

Though Pope Francis has been a somewhat controversial figure among some devout Catholics over the past several years for his liberal stances on matters ranging from immigration to global warming and what many view as mixed messages on gay rights and abortion, the faithful around the world surely wish him a speedy recovery and good health for as long as possible.