“This leg does not walk well, it does not allow me to walk.” Pope Francis confessed last Saturday to a group of Slovak pilgrims whom he asked to come to bless them while he himself remained seated. This is not the first time this has happened to him: in recent weeks, Bergoglio has been forced to interrupt several audiences, not preside over the Good Friday Liturgy, and not pronounce the Urbi et Orbi blessing on Easter Sunday. Moreover, during the last trip to Malta, the pontiff was supposed to get off the plane on a mobile platform, and today the Holy See confirmed that the pontiff was infiltrated due to torn ligaments, so he will drastically reduce his public appearances in the next ten days.
Francisco can’t walk right now. And this notes before and after the pontificate, nine years after his election. Will Bergoglio be able to travel again, walk, meet people, or will we find ourselves in front of a Pope who, little by little, moves away from everyday communication with the faithful? “We hope to resolve his illness, which is not serious but uncomfortable,” he told elDiario, a staff member of the pontiff, who admits that Bergoglio is “not a very good patient.”
Since 1994, the Pope has had a prosthesis on his right hip. The doctor who implanted it, Francesco Bove, told Il Corriere della Sera that the prosthesis was “partially responsible” for the pope’s swaying and pain, as is also customary for clerics to pray on their knees. In fact, knee pain is commonly known as “nun’s disease”.
For his part, Paolo Mariani, a professor at the University Institute of Movement Sciences in Rome, pointed out that “among the various possibilities associated with a knee malfunction, wear of the prosthesis could be the cause.” However, this hypothesis was ruled out after a CT scan, which the pontiff underwent. The reality is that at this moment, Francisco sees that his ability to walk is very limited and he cannot stand for long.
“The doctor asked me not to go,” repeated Bergoglio anxiously. Rome is trying to avoid the operation, and for this reason it was infiltrated on Tuesday. “And we’ll see,” Francisco himself said in an interview. “Once upon a time, parents went with a gestational chair. Now a little pain, humiliation is also needed … ”, the 85-year-old Pope joked.
Mobility issues and future travel
Francisco’s mobility issues have had a big impact and could significantly change the agenda for the coming months, both in regards to his public speaking and especially international travel. And that is that during 2022, Bergoglio visits Lebanon (June), the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan (beginning of July) and Canada (end of this month). Kazakhstan for September and a big trip to Oceania at the end of the year is in the air today, and will depend on the evolution of the tribe, which, according to experts, does not look good at all.
As early as July last year, Francisco underwent surgery for symptomatic diverticular stenosis of the colon, due to which he was out of circulation for ten days. The lack of transparency in his health reports — Francis appeared to the faithful that same morning announcing an upcoming trip in September, without the slightest mention of a planned hospitalization — led many to wonder if the Pope was really serious. And along with these doubts, the movements of the enemies of the Argentine in the Vatican were provoked, which for a time fueled rumors of a new conclave.
The list of ailments of the leader of the Catholic Church includes, in addition to hip problems, recurrent sciatica. In 2019, he underwent cataract surgery. When he was elected pope, there were rumors that he was missing half a lung. In fact, in 1957 he had the upper lobe of his right lung removed due to pleurisy. He himself was responsible for recounting the details of this emergency operation. “When I got sick with something serious at the age of 21, I had my first experience with the limit, with pain and loneliness. My orientation has changed. For several months I did not know who I was and whether I would die or not. Even the doctors didn’t know if he would survive,” he said in Let’s Dream Together (Plaza and Yanes).
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