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The Vatican on Wednesday unequivocally dismissed an Italian media report that Pope Francis has a brain tumor as “unfounded and seriously irresponsible.”

An Italian newspaper ‘Quotidiano Nazionale’ reported on its front page on Wednesday that a Japanese doctor, identified as Takanori Fukushima and his team, had secretly flown from Tuscany to the Vatican on a helicopter bearing the Holy See’s white-and-yellow flag to examine the pope “some months ago”.

Under the headline “The Pope is Sick”, it said the Argentine pontiff was diagnosed with “a small dark spot on the brain”, but that it was curable without surgery.

“I am able to confirm that the pope is in good health,” chief spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said in a statement he read out during a news conference on another topic.

Fr. Lombardi blasted the Quotidiano Nazionale saying “The circulation of entirely unfounded news regarding the health of the Holy Father by an Italian newspaper is gravely irresponsible and unworthy of attention. Furthermore, as is clearly evident, the Pope is carrying out his very intense activity in an totally normal way”.

Andrea Cangini, the director of Quotidiano, said he had anticipated the Vatican reaction.

“This denial is understandable and to be expected,” he said. “We waited a long time before publishing the report in order to carry out every possible check. We don’t have the slightest doubt that it is founded.”

But the Vatican is insistent that the report is untrue. The statement realsed by the Vatican closely by saying “I reiterate that the publication of this false information is a grave act of irresponsibility, absolutely inexcusable and unconscionable. It would be equally unjustifiable to continue to fuel similarly unfounded information. It is hoped, therefore, that this matter be closed immediately”.

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