Pope cancels events for second day due to illness

By Associated Press reporter
·1-min read

Pope Francis cancelled his official audiences on Friday after apparently coming down with a cold.

The Vatican said the 83-year-old pontiff celebrated morning Mass as usual and greeted participants at the end.

He aimed to keep his private meeting schedule as planned, but decided to cancel the official audiences, the Vatican said.

Francis blowing his nose during the Ash Wednesday Mass opening Lent
Francis blowing his nose during the Ash Wednesday Mass opening Lent (AP/Gregorio Borgia)

The Vatican has not said what exactly Francis has come down with, but he was coughing and blowing his nose during Ash Wednesday Mass this week.

On Thursday, he cancelled a planned trip across town to celebrate Mass with priests in Rome.

His illness comes amid an outbreak of the coronavirus in Italy that has left more than 650 people sick, almost all of them in the north. Rome has had three cases, but all three recovered.

Francis has generally enjoyed good health. He lost part of one lung as a young man because of a respiratory illness, and suffers from sciatica, which makes walking difficult.