Recent speculation about the health of Pope Francis is receiving even more fuel amid the announcement by the official Vatican News service that the pontiff will dramatically curtail his activities for the next month. After being in seemingly constant motion since taking the Chair of St. Peter, the 77-year Pontiff has been noticeably fatigued following a particularly grueling stretch that included his trip the Middle East.
Pope Francis, who has only one lung due to a childhood infection, has been observed breathing more heavily than usual. Additionally, since his election, the Holy Father has put on additional weight, likely due to his increased schedule and decreased opportunities to perform physical activity. Some medical observers note that his fatigue, heavy breathing, and weight gain could be indicative of more serious health concerns such as chronic heart failure common among victims of significant lung disorders.
According to the release all Wednesday general audiences will be suspended until August and his morning Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae will be suspended until September. The Holy Father will continue the Sunday Angelus.
Unlike past popes, including recently St. Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI, Francis will not be leaving the sweltering heat and humidity of the Roman summer for the Castel Gandolfo. He will continue to work out of his office in Vatican City.
Pray for the Pope’s good health and rejuvenation during his lighter summer schedule