Tags: America's Forum | Exclusive Interviews | Pope Francis | Edward Pentin | Pope Francis | health

Edward Pentin: Pope Francis May Need to Ease His Schedule

Monday, 30 Jun 2014 02:35 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

Pope Francis' recent appearance cancellations, coupled with the Vatican's traditional reluctance to release information about a sitting pope, are raising many questions about his health, and it may well be that the 77-year-old pontiff is taking on too much with his frequent trips, Newsmax contributor Edward Pentin says.

The Vatican "does have a track record of being a little bit cagey on giving health information about the Pope," Pentin said on Newsmax TV's "America's Forum" on Monday. "There's a saying that the Pope is always healthy until he's dead, because the Vatican has always been traditionally very quiet about it."

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But the recent reports indicated that over the weekend, Francis had a cough when he met with the president of Madagascar on Saturday, said Pentin, which does not seem serious.

Still, said Pentin, people are guessing and worrying about what could be so serious that the Pope is canceling events that had been planned for months in advance.

"This has happened at least three times over the past six months that you've had this last-minute cancellation," said Pentin.

Pope Francis' predecessor, Benedict, was "remarkably fit for his age" and had "very few off days," said Pentin.

"He went to almost, I think, every event and I don't remember him canceling an event because of ill health," said Pentin. "There probably was one or two, but I just don't remember them. Of course, John Paul II, even though he was [feeling] very, very poorly, he would still come out and make public appearances."

But Francis' cancellations are unusual and "a little mysterious," said Pentin, and "it's got a lot of people guessing why he does this."

Such speculation is "kind of legitimate in a sense," but it's difficult to know the truth because the Vatican and Francis' doctors aren't talking.

"And then he comes out and he looks fine the next day," said Pentin. "I suppose one has to take as the Vatican is saying the truth that there is no serious health problem."

But many people agree that Francis must ease up on his schedule, Pentin said.

"People feel that he's taking too much on, and he's overtaxing himself," he said, describing the Pope as "a 77-year-old with one-and-a-half lungs, who does have problems. He's slightly overweight. He should be perhaps cutting back … But of course he does keep up a very tight schedule."

The Pope said recently that he was giving up on the Popemobile, as it made him feel trapped, and Pentin said Francis wants to "basically do as much as he can in the time he's got left."

But he doesn't believe the pontiff is worried so much about his mortality.

"He's lived a full life, and he feels when his time is up, it's up, and he wants to just do as much as he can regardless of his health problems," said Pentin. "He just wants to do as much as he can and whatever the doctors say, he'll just press on."

The Pope is keeping up his full schedule as much as he can, including a planned visit to South Korea and a pastoral visit to southern Italy in a few weeks.

The Pope also has a full schedule this fall, and Pentin doesn't expect him to slow down any time soon.

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

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