Pope out with cold, cancels morning audiences
Pope Francis celebrates a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Nov. 15, 2013. (AP / Andrew Medichini)
VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis cancelled his morning audiences Friday because of a cold, the first time the industrious pope is known to have slowed his busy schedule due to illness.
The 76-year-old pontiff, who lost most of one of his lungs due to an infection in his youth, was eating and resting comfortably at his hotel, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi told The Associated Press.
Francis cancelled four appointments with Vatican officials, forcing the Vatican to reissue its daily bulletin which had reported that the audiences took place. Francis, however, planned to preside as scheduled over a Mass later Friday in St. Peter's Basilica to ordain a new bishop.
Francis had a busy day on Thursday, making his first state visit to the Italian president across town. He appeared tired but otherwise in good spirits during the two-hour visit.
The Vatican typically restricts information about the health of its popes, citing their privacy. The Holy See only confirmed that Pope John Paul II suffered from Parkinson's disease after he died.
The German Pope Benedict XVI enjoyed robust health during his seven-year pontificate, only missing a scheduled appearance after he broke his wrist in a fall in 2009.
Francis doesn't enjoy such good health. Jorge Mario Bergoglio, as he was known then, had wanted to be a missionary as a young priest but was counselled against it by his superior in Argentina because of the toll it would have taken on his frail health.
To this day, Francis speaks softly -- barely over a whisper -- and doesn't sing.
The Vatican's no. 2, the Secretary of State, Archbishop Pietro Parolin, has been recovering for a month from unspecified urgent surgery that forced him to be a no-show at his own welcome ceremony Oct. 15.
The Vatican has yet to reveal what has been ailing Parolin, except to say he was treated by the hospital's hepatobiliary department; the body's hepatobiliary system refers to the liver, gall bladder and bile ducts.
Officials have said Parolin, 58, is expected in Rome on Saturday.