Ten days after undergoing surgery in a hospital in Rome, Pope Francis returned to the Vatican on Wednesday (14), according to testimonies and journalists from the Italian press and international news agencies.
The Catholic leader was seen leaving Gemelli Hospital in the Italian capital through a side door. He traveled in a solid blue car followed by a small entourage from the Vatican and Italian security guards.
Photographers saw the Pope leaving the hospital in the dark-windowed car after the team placed a wheelchair in the trunk of a second vehicle.
Until Wednesday morning, the Vatican did not officially communicate the discharge of the pontiff. Hospital admission on July 4 was also not announced until after admission, despite later announcements that the operation was already scheduled in advance.
The pontiff stopped to pray at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, before returning to the Vatican – Francisco often visits the church upon returning from trips abroad.
Near the Perugino Gate, one of the entrances to the Vatican, the Pope got out of the car and stood to thank the Italian police escort, looking in good condition. He then sat in the front seat of the vehicle and proceeded to his official residence.
During the time he was hospitalized, Francisco made only one public appearance. On Sunday (11), he spoke for about ten minutes to a group of about 200 people. It was the first time that the Pontiff made the Angelus outside the Apostolic Palace overlooking St. Peter’s Square.
In his speech, he defended that good health care should be available to all, asked the faithful to pray for all the sick and also prayed for an end to the “spiral of violence” in Haiti, where President Jovenel Moses was murdered last week.
On Monday (12), Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni announced that the Pope would be hospitalized “for a few more days”, justifying the pontiff’s stay in hospital, given that the estimate announced a week earlier was seven days of hospitalization. On this occasion, Bruni also said that Francisco, passionate about football since his youth, celebrated the victories of Argentina over Brazil in the Copa America and Italy over England in the European Cup.
Francisco has planned for the operation to coincide with the month of July, when he traditionally stays in the Vatican, but has no commitments other than Sunday prayer. It is expected to resume public and private hearings on August 4.
According to Vatican spokespersons, the pope’s travel plans are being respected. He is due to visit Slovakia and Hungary in September. The Congregation of Bishops of Scotland also announced that the Pope will attend COP26, a global climate conference to be held in Glasgow in November, but the Vatican has not confirmed the trip. Also in November, Francisco is expected to visit Malta and Cyprus.
Performed on July 4 under general anesthesia, the surgery undergone by the Supreme Pontiff – a left hemicolectomy, an operation in which part of the colon is removed – lasted three hours and was performed by ten professionals from the hospital. Gemelli.
The operation was performed to treat diverticular stenosis, a condition in which “pockets” form in the muscle layer of the colon, making it narrower. In addition to causing pain, the disease can lead to bloating, inflammation, and difficulty evacuating. It is a more common diagnosis in the elderly.
Most people live with the disease asymptomatically. Depending on the narrowing of the colon, however, there may be an intestinal obstruction and, therefore, an operation is required, during which the obstructed part of the intestine is removed and the ends are connected with each other. Cases in which medical attention and surgery are delayed can lead to intestinal perforation.
Born December 17, 1936 in Argentina, Jorge Bergoglio, the pope’s birth name, had the upper lobe of his right lung removed at the age of 21, due to pleurisy. He suffers from hip and sciatic nerve problems, a condition that causes chronic pain that radiates from his lower back to his feet. When he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he was accompanied by an acupuncturist.
It was the first time that Pope Francis had to be interned since taking over the leadership of the Catholic Church in 2013, and there were few occasions when the pontiff was absent for health reasons. On January 1, he stopped conducting the traditional New Year’s Mass due to a problem with his sciatic nerve.
The Pope also has gallstones – a condition in which the substances that form bile, a fluid used in the digestion of food, solidify – and had a temporary heart problem in 2004 after an artery narrowed. The liver problems have been resolved over the past few years with a change in your diet. “I am not afraid of death”, he confided in 2019 during an interview with the Argentinian journalist Nelson Castro, who wrote a book on the health of the popes.
In the book, Francisco says that even after the severe pain he felt after the lung operation he underwent, he was convinced he would be cured. “I never felt any limitation in my activities. Even on several international trips, I never had to limit or cancel any of the planned activities,” said the pontiff at the time. He also revealed that he is limping due to a problem with a flat foot, which gets worse when he’s tired.