Pope Francis pulls out of conventional Good Friday procession ultimately minute ‘to protect well being’ | EUROtoday

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Pope Francis pulled out of a key Easter ceremony on the final minute on Friday, reigniting considerations in regards to the 87-year-old’s more and more frail well being.

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The Vatican stated the pontiff withdrew from the Way of the Cross ceremony to “preserve his health” forward of different occasions this weekend, the holiest within the Christian calender.

His armchair had been set out on the hill dealing with the Colosseum in Rome, the place the ceremony was held, however was taken away because the announcement was made simply moments earlier than the beginning.

“To preserve his health ahead of tomorrow’s vigil and the Easter Sunday mass, Pope Francis will this evening follow the Way of the Cross at the Colosseum from the Santa Marta Residence” the place he lives, the Vatican stated in an announcement.

The pope had additionally missed final 12 months’s ceremony, which passed off shortly after he was launched from three nights in hospital with bronchitis, however the determination had been introduced prematurely.

Francis final month caught what the Vatican known as a “light flu” that brought about him to cancel some occasions, and he has on a number of events since requested others to learn his speeches.

A Vatican supply informed AFP there was “no particular concern” about his well being Friday.

The determination to drag out was “simply a measure of caution”, the supply stated, including that the pontiff had appeared “in good shape” earlier within the day.

But the choice will solely add to doubts in regards to the capability of the ageing Argentine to manipulate the worldwide Catholic Church.

Packed agenda

The pope has a packed agenda within the week operating as much as Easter.

Francis had on Friday afternoon presided as deliberate over a Good Friday mass in St Peter’s Basilica on the Vatican.

On Thursday, he washed the ft of 12 girls being held at a jail in Rome as a part of one other Easter ceremony.

On Sunday, the pontiff is because of preside over the Easter mass in St Peter’s Square earlier than giving the “Urbi et Orbi” blessing.

Francis, who grew to become pope in 2013, has suffered plenty of well being points in recent times, together with knee and hip ache that now sees him repeatedly use a wheelchair.

In June 2023, he underwent a hernia operation, simply weeks after being hospitalised for bronchitis and two years after present process main colon surgical procedure.

He has beforehand left the door open to stepping down if he can not do the job.

His predecessor, Benedict XVI, in 2013 grew to become the primary pope for the reason that Middle Ages to voluntarily step apart.

But Francis stated in a memoir printed this month that he did “not have any cause serious enough to make me think of resigning”.

Resignation is a “distant possibility” that might be justified solely within the occasion of “a serious physical impediment”, he stated.

Thousands of individuals had turned out for Friday night’s ceremony when he cancelled, with the Vatican placing the gang at round 25,000.

For the primary time since turning into pope, Francis himself wrote the texts learn out at every of the 14 Stations of the Cross, which symbolise Christ’s journey from loss of life sentence to crucifixion.