Pope Francis skips readings at audience, says he still has a cold

By Thomson Reuters Feb 28, 2024 | 2:34 AM

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis skipped readings at his Wednesday weekly audience, delegating the task to an aide and telling the faithful he was still not well.

The 87-year-old pontiff, who has had a number of health issues recently, had cancelled appointments on Saturday and on Monday due to what the Vatican called a mild flu.

On Sunday, however, he addressed crowds in St Peter’s Square as normal, to deliver his Angelus message.

“Dear brothers and sisters, I still have a bit of a cold”, Francis said, announcing that someone else would read his catechesis on envy and vainglory, two of the seven deadly sins.

In December, the pope was forced to cancel a planned trip to a COP28 climate meeting in Dubai because of the effects of influenza and lung inflammation.

In January, he was unable to complete a speech owing to “a touch of bronchitis”. Later in the month he said he was doing better despite “some aches and pains”.

As a young man in his native Argentina, Francis had part of a lung removed.

The pope also has difficulty walking, and regularly uses a wheelchair or a cane. On Wednesday, he arrived at his indoor audience in a wheelchair.

(Reporting by Alvise Armellini, editing by Miral Fahmy)