Pope Francis Is in Hospital and Will Stay for Several Days

Since his knee gave out, Francis has depended, at first seemingly reluctantly, on others to move around. He sometimes uses a cane, but also leans on aides, and relies on a specific butler to put him in, and lift him out, of a wheelchair. On foreign trips, he now uses an elevator to get on and off the plane, but he has kept up his ambitious travel. In early February he traveled to Congo and South Sudan.

In an interview in January, Francis told The Associated Press that bulges in his intestinal wall had “returned.” In 2021, the pope had roughly 13 inches of his large intestine removed because of what the Vatican said was inflammation that caused a narrowing of his colon. Otherwise, he said, he was in good shape for his age; a fall had led to a slight bone fracture in his knee, but it healed without surgery.

“I’m in good health. For my age, I’m normal,” he said, adding in a frequent flourish, “I might die tomorrow, but it’s under control. I’m in good health. ”

The pope also has problems with sciatica, a chronic nerve condition that causes back, hip and leg pain and makes him walk with a limp. Flare-ups of that condition have forced him to cancel or modify high-profile appearances.

Speaking to reporters on a papal plane in 2014, he said, “I know this will last a short time, two or three years, and then to the house of the Father.” In 2015, he said he saw himself serving as pope for about another five years.

Francis is scheduled to begin a busy series of ceremonies in the coming days, including Palm Sunday this weekend, followed by Holy Thursday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday on April 9.

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