Pope Francis visits hospital for diagnostic tests after Wednesday audience — By: Catholic News Agency

Pope Francis appears in a wheelchair at his general audience on Feb. 28, 2024. / Credit: Vatican Media

Vatican City, Feb 28, 2024 / 07:43 am (CNA).

Pope Francis went to the hospital on Rome’s Tiber Island on Wednesday morning after meeting with the public at his general audience.

The Vatican confirmed on Feb. 28 that the pope underwent “diagnostic tests” at the Gemelli Isola Tiberina Hospital before returning to his Vatican residence shortly after noon.

According to the Holy See Press Office, the pope has had “a mild flu-like condition” since at least Saturday when he canceled his scheduled public appearances.

The 87-year-old pope appeared in a wheelchair at his Wednesday audience in Paul VI Hall where he had an aide read his speech for him after telling the crowd that he was still not well.

“Dear brothers and sisters, I still have a bit of a cold,” Pope Francis said in a soft-spoken voice as he explained that Monsignor Filippo Ciampanelli would read the text of his catechesis for him.

Despite feeling unwell, the pope greeted the crowd at the end of the audience, shaking hands with visiting pilgrims, blessing newlywed couples, and speaking with bishops before visiting the hospital.

Italian media spotted the pope leaving the Vatican in the backseat of a white Fiat 500 one hour before the Vatican officially confirmed the hospital visit.

“After the general audience, Pope Francis went to the Gemelli Isola Tiberina Hospital for some diagnostic tests. At the end he returned to the Vatican,” the brief statement from the Holy See Press Office said.

The Vatican has yet to release details as to the results of the hospital’s diagnostic tests.

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