The Vatican announced that Pope Francis was hospitalized with a lung infection Wednesday afternoon after experiencing respiratory issues.
According to a statement by Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni, the pope's health issues have nothing to do with COVID-19 but a different respiratory infection that caused him to have difficulty breathing over the past several days.
"The tests showed a respiratory infection (COVID-19 infection excluded) that will require some days of medical therapy," Bruni said, CBS News reports.
After being admitted to the hospital, the pope reportedly appeared to be doing well. Earlier in the day, he even made his regularly scheduled general audience appearances.
Francis was expected to kick off the Vatican's Holy Week observances during a Palm Sunday celebration, but amid his health issues, all audiences have been canceled through Friday.
As reported by CBN News, the pope had a section of one of his lungs removed when he was younger because of a respiratory infection.
Wednesday's hospitalization is the pope's first stay at the hospital since he was admitted to the Gemelli hospital in Rome for 10 days in July 2021. At the time, he had 33 centimeters (13 inches) of his colon removed.
He has also used a wheelchair for a year after straining ligaments in his right knee and minorly fracturing his knee. Francis has more recently begun using a cane to support himself as the injury continues to heal.
According to CBN News, the pope refuses to undergo knee surgery since he did not respond well to the intestinal surgery in 2021.
Despite experiencing a full recovery and eating normally again, Francs told the Associated Press in January of this year that his diverticulosis, or bulges in the intestinal wall, had "returned."
On Thursday, Francis thanked everyone for their prayers while he remains hospitalized.
"I am touched by the many messages received in these hours, and I express my gratitude for the closeness and prayer," the pope tweeted.
I am touched by the many messages received in these hours and I express my gratitude for the closeness and prayer.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) March 30, 2023
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Giulio Origlia/Stringer
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.