Vatican denies reports that Pope Francis is ill
(CNN) A Vatican spokesman denied reports on Wednesday that Pope Francis is ill, saying that the curtailment of his public summer schedule is common for popes.
“There is no sickness whatsoever,” said the Rev. Thomas Rosica, a consultant to the Vatican press office. “If there was, we would be open about that and asking people to pray for him.”
But the Pope will curtail public appearances in St. Peter’s Square during July, as he did last year, and will scale back his daily celebration of Masses at Casa Santa Marta for the summer.
It is customary for popes to vacation during the summers months. Francis, 77, will continue working, Rosica said, while limiting public appearances.
Earlier this month, Francis rested for two days because of “minor indisposition” and tiredness, the Vatican said. Church officials announced the Pope’s curtailed summer schedule on Monday, leading some to speculate that he is ill.
The Pope walks with a limp because of a bad knee and had part of a lung removed while he was young but is otherwise in good health, said Rosica.
Still, some church officials have urged the aging pontiff to cut back on his grueling schedule.
“We have been asking him to have holidays this year,” Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, one of the Pope’s closest advisers, said during a visit to Washington this month. “Because last year he didn’t and sometimes he’s very tired.”
Francis has also worried Catholic officials by refusing to use the bulletproof Popemobile.
“It’s true that anything could happen, but let’s face it, at my age I don’t have much to lose,” he told Barcelona newspaper La Vanguardia.
“I know that something could happen to me, but it’s in the hands of God.”