Pope Francis skips speech due to breathing issues post operation

Pope Francis skipped reading a planned speech at a conference on Thursday, saying he still had breathing problems following a hernia operation this month.
Pope Francis meets with Kosovo's Prime Minister Albin Kurti at the Vatican, June 22, 2023.
Pope Francis meets with Kosovo's Prime Minister Albin Kurti at the Vatican, June 22, 2023. Vatican Media/­Handout via REUTERS

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis skipped reading a planned speech at a conference on Thursday, saying he still had breathing problems following a hernia operation this month.

"I am still under the effects of anaesthesia, my breathing is not good," Francis told a meeting of the Catholic Oriental Church, saying delegates would instead receive a text of the speech.

Asked by a well-wisher how he felt, the 86-year-old pope replied: "I'm still alive."

FILE PHOTO: Pope Francis greets people on the day of his discharge from Gemelli hospital in Rome, Italy, June 16, 2023.
FILE PHOTO: Pope Francis greets people on the day of his discharge from Gemelli hospital in Rome, Italy, June 16, 2023. REUTERS/Remo Casilli/File Photo

The pope had surgery on June 7 to repair an abdominal hernia. He spent nine days in hospital recovering and has had a busy schedule since returning to the Vatican last Friday, including meeting the presidents of Cuba and Brazil.

He had eight events on his schedule for Thursday.

(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Writing by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Alison Williams)

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