Pope Francis undergoes colon surgery in Rome, ‘reacted well,’ Vatican says

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Pope Francis waves during his weekly general audience in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican on October 14, 2020.
Alberto Pizzoli | AFP | Getty Images

Pope Francis was hospitalized in Rome on Sunday for what the Vatican said was scheduled surgery for an abnormal narrowing of the large intestine of the 84-year-old Roman Catholic leader.

“This afternoon His Holiness Pope Francis went to the A. Gemelli Polyclinic in Rome where he will undergo a scheduled surgery for a symptomatic diverticular stenosis of the colon,” said Matteo Bruni, director of the Holy See’s press office, in a statement.

Stenosis is an abnormal narrowing.

“The surgery will be performed by Prof. Sergio Alfieri. At the end of the surgery a new medical bulletin will be issued,” Bruni said.

The Argentina-born Roman Catholic pontiff was elected as the first pope from the Americas in February 2013. He succeeded German-born Benedict XVI, who retired because of advancing age.

The announcement that Francis was entering the hospital came just hours after the pope made a public appearance before crowds in St. Peter’s Square.

A week ago, at the same regular appearance there, Francis had asked people for special prayers for himself. During that earlier event, he said he plans to visit Hungary and Slovakia in September.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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