Pope Curtails Schedule, Health Concerns Raised

Wednesday, 18 Jun 2014 10:23 AM

By Edward Pentin

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Pope Francis is to cut down on his workload in July and August, the Vatican has announced. The news comes after the Pope took unplanned time off to rest at the beginning of last week and concerns about the effect his heavy workload is having on his health.

The Vatican said the Pope will not hold his usual Wednesday general audience in July, and will forgo his daily Masses in his Domus Sanctae Marthae residence during both July and August.

But he won’t be taking a July vacation away from Rome, as John Paul II and Benedict XVI used to do, and will continue to offer his weekly Sunday Angelus address at the Vatican throughout July and August. From August 13-18, he will also visit South Korea.

Editor’s Note: Do You Approve of Pope Francis? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

Since his election in March last year, the 77 year-old pontiff has kept up a punishing schedule of engagements that has included overseeing reform of the Roman Curia, entertaining frequent audiences, and embarking on papal trips, the most recent being to the Holy Land.

His heavy workload appears to be taking its toll as he has shown increasing signs of fatigue, canceling an increasing number of planned meetings at the last minute and contracting minor illnesses.

Last week, the Pope took off Monday afternoon and the whole of Tuesday because of what the Vatican described as a “minor indisposition.” The Vatican insisted it wasn’t due to anything serious but followed a grueling few weeks. Engagements included his visit to the Holy Land and an intense prayer meeting at the Vatican June 8 with the Israeli and Palestinian Presidents.

Earlier this month, one of his closest aides said he and others had been asking the Pope to take a holiday this year. “We have been asking him to have holidays this year because last year he didn’t and sometimes he’s very tired,” Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga told journalists in Washington. “So I think that during August he’s going to retire to rest.”

In May, I reported on concerns about the health of the Pope who had part of his lung removed as a child. Noting his increasing difficulty breathing and weight gain, Newsmaxhealth expert Dr. Peter Hibberd warned the pontiff may be slipping in a form of chronic heart failure common among victims of significant lung disorders.

Edward Pentin began reporting on the Vatican as a correspondent with Vatican Radio in 2002. He has covered the Pope and the Holy See for a number of publications, including Newsweek and The Sunday Times. Read more reports from Edward Pentin — Click Here Now.
Editor’s Note: Do You Approve of Pope Francis? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

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