"This leg doesn't go well, it doesn't allow me to walk." The Pope Francisco he confessed, last Saturday, before a group of Slovak pilgrims, whom he asked to come to bless them, while he remained seated. This is not the first time this has happened to him: in recent weeks, Bergoglio has been forced to suspend several audiences, not to preside over the Good Friday liturgy or to pronounce the 'Urbi et Orbi' blessing seated on Easter Sunday. During the last trip to Malta, moreover, the Pontiff had to get off the plane on a mobile platform, and today, the Holy See has confirmed that the Pope has undergone infiltration due to torn ligaments, so in the next ten days will drastically reduce his public appearances.
Francisco, right now, cannot walk. And this marks a before and after in the pontificate, nine years after his election. Will Bergoglio be able to travel again, walk, meet people or will we find ourselves before a Pope who, little by little, ends up moving away from daily contact with the faithful? "We hope to solve his ailment, which is not serious, but it is annoying," he told elDiario. He is a collaborator of the Pontiff, who admits that Bergoglio "is not a good patient."
Since 1994, the Pope has had a prosthesis on his right hip. The doctor who implanted it, Francesco Bove, declared to Il Corriere della Sera that said prosthesis "is partly responsible" for the pope's swaying and his pain, as is also the custom of ecclesiastics of praying on their knees. In fact, knee pain is popularly known as "nuns' disease".
For his part, Paolo Mariani, professor at the University Institute of Motor Sciences in Rome, pointed out that "among the various possibilities related to the malfunction of the knee, it could originate in the wear of the prosthesis." However, this hypothesis was excluded after a CT scan to which the pontiff was subjected. The reality is that, at this moment, Francisco sees his ability to walk very limited, and he cannot stand for a long time.
"The doctor has asked me not to walk," Bergoglio repeated uneasily. Rome tries to avoid an operation and for that reason, this Tuesday it has been infiltrated. "And we'll see," Francisco himself pointed out in an interview. "Once the popes used to go with the gestatoria chair. Now you also need a little pain, humiliation … ", joked the 85-year-old Pope.
Francisco's mobility problems have caused a great impact, and could substantially modify the agenda for the coming months, both in his public appearances and, especially, with regard to international travel. And it is that, throughout 2022, Bergoglio visits Lebanon (June), the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan (beginning of July) and Canada (end of that month). Kazakhstan for September and a great trip to Oceania at the end of the year are, today, in the air, and will depend on the evolution of a knee that, according to experts, does not look good at all.
Already last July, Francis underwent surgery for a symptomatic diverticular stricture of the colon, which had him out of circulation for ten days. The lack of transparency in reporting his health – Francis had appeared before the faithful that same morning, announcing an upcoming trip in September, without making the slightest reference to a scheduled admission – made many wonder if Pope Was it really serious or not? And, with these doubts, the movements of the Argentine's enemies in the Vatican also increased, rumors of a new conclave fed for a time.
The list of ailments of the leader of the Catholic Church includes, in addition to his hip problems, a recurring sciatica. In 2019 he underwent cataract surgery. When he was elected Pope, some rumors pointed out that he was missing half a lung. In fact, in 1957 the upper lobe of his right lung was removed due to pleurisy. He himself was in charge of telling the details of that 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 guidelines changed. For months, I didn't know who I was and if I was dying or not. Not even the doctors knew if I was going to survive," he recounted in the book Let's Dream Together (Plaza and Janés).
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