Pope Francis Hospitalized With Respiratory Infection

Pope Francis
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According to a Vatican spokesperson, Francis is expected to remain in the hospital for a few days.

Pope Francis is in the hospital with a respiratory infection. According to multiple reports, Francis was taken to a Rome hospital after complaining of breathing difficulties.

In a statement released by the Vatican on Wednesday, it was revealed that Francis is being treated at Gemelli hospital in Rome, and will spend "a few days" there. The Vatican had originally claimed Francis had been admitted for a previously scheduled check-up before sharing the details of his condition.

While they have ruled out COVID, the Vatican said that hospital tests determined that Francis is suffering from a respiratory infection. Francis' schedule through the end of the week has been cleared.

The news is particularly concerning given Francis, 86, is missing part of one lung -- after undergoing surgery in his early 20s while training to be a priest in his native Argentina.

Francis' hospitalization comes less than two weeks ahead of Easter Sunday, a busy time for both the pope and Vatican City as a whole. 

The pope has also had his fair share of health issues over the years -- last year, he began using a wheelchair after experiencing persistent knee pain. He also underwent surgery to remove part of his left colon in 2021 after a bout with diverticulitis, a condition that can infect or inflame the colon. Earlier this year, he said the condition had returned, but that he was not overly concerned.

Amid his ongoing health issues, following a trip to Canada last July, Francis hinted that he needed to slow down.

"I think at my age and with this limitation, I have to save [my energies up] a bit to be able to serve the church or, on the contrary, think about the possibility of stepping aside. This I say with all honesty," Francis said during a news conference. "It is not a catastrophe. It is possible to change pope."

Despite acknowledging that he may need to slow down, Francis has largely kept up with his papal duties, from taking a six-day trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan last month, to celebrating the 10th anniversary of his pontificate earlier this month.

While Francis isn't the oldest pope in power, he's only one of three popes in the papacy's 500-year history to reach the age of 86 while in the position.