Pope Francis Opts Out of Speech With Rabbis in Europe

(RightWing.org) – There’s growing concern over the health of Pope Francis after the 86-year-old Catholic leader didn’t read a recent speech. The pope was due to address a group of leading European rabbis; he did meet them, but skipped the speech. Now he says he’ll continue with his schedule, but his health issues are getting in the way of his work more frequently.

On November 6, Pope Francis held an audience in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace. His guests were a group of rabbis, and he had planned to talk to them about anti-Semitism, war, and terrorism. However, when he arrived at the meeting the pope was “visibly fatigued and breathless,” according to The Guardian. He told his guests “I’m not feeling well,” and said he would give them his speech to take it away instead of reading it to them.

After the audience, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said Pope Francis had “a bit of a cold” and would carry on with his Monday schedule. However, the incident is bound to raise worries about the 86-year-old pontiff’s health. He’s suffered from sciatica, a nerve condition, for several years; in December 2020 he missed the New Year’s services after a flare-up.

Since then he’s missed a lot more events. In 2021 he had an operation on his colon. A knee problem means he sometimes struggles to walk, and he’s often seen using a walking stick or even a wheelchair, but he doesn’t want to take time off work to get surgery on it.

In March he spent a night in the hospital with a respiratory infection; the hospital said tests had shown he didn’t have heart disease or pneumonia, while the Vatican insisted that while he was breathless he didn’t have the Chinese virus. In May he suffered from a fever and missed several events; then in June, he was back in the hospital for abdominal surgery. Now he’s suffering from breathlessness again.

When Pope Francis was elected in 2013 his age was already a concern, but for his first few years, his health caused few issues. Now it seems problems are coming more frequently.

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