Pope to Spend Few More Days in Hospital After Operation

'To optimize the medical and rehabilitation therapy.'
Photo/s: Shutterstock

Pope Francis will spend a few more days in hospital following his colon surgery, the Vatican said Monday, adding that the football-mad pontiff was cheered by Argentina and Italy's weekend victories.

Francis will "remain hospitalized for a few more days in order to optimize the medical and rehabilitation therapy," spokesman Matteo Bruni said.

The 84-year old underwent planned surgery for inflammation of the colon on July 4. The following day, the Vatican said he was expected to stay at least seven days at Rome's Gemelli University Hospital.

It was not clear if Francis, who loves football but goes to bed early, stayed up to watch the European championship final between Italy and England, which his adopted homeland won on penalties.

But he likely heard the celebratory fireworks and raucous beeps from cars and scooters across Rome.

The Argentine pope has spent much of his recovery period pacing the hospital's corridors. His mood is likely to have been lifted Saturday by Argentina's win over hosts Brazil in the Copa America final.

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Francis was "sharing the joy for the victory of the Argentine and Italian national teams with the people close to him", Bruni said.

And in doing so he had "dwelt on the meaning of sport and its values, and on the sporting ability to accept any result, even defeat", he said.

"Only in this way, in the face of life's difficulties, is it possible to always put yourself out there, fighting without giving up, with hope and trust," Francis was quoted as saying.

Sunday Angelus from hospital

On Sunday, the pope greeted well-wishers from his balcony on the hospital's 10th floor, where he delivered the Angelus prayer, thanking them for their support "from the bottom of my heart".

He had earlier visited children in the nearby cancer ward, some of whom then went with him to the balcony and stood by him, Bruni said.

He was photographed Sunday looking cheerful in a wheelchair as he greeted staff and a fellow patient.

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Francis is in the same suite used by Pope John Paul II -- who also led the Angelus prayer from there -- and has celebrated mass in the apartment's private chapel with those looking after him.

The pontiff temporarily ran a fever last week after his operation for "severe diverticular stenosis with signs of sclerosing diverticulitis".

But a chest and abdomen scan and other tests revealed no particular abnormalities.

Diverticula are small bulges or pockets that develop in the lining of the intestine. Diverticulitis occurs when they become inflamed or infected.

Sclerosis is normally defined as hardening of tissue.


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