null / Vatican Media.

Vatican City, Jun 10, 2023 / 05:05 am (CNA).

At the recommendation of his doctors, Pope Francis will not pray the Sunday Angelus in public, the Vatican said Saturday.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said at a press conference June 10 the pope would pray the Angelus in private at noon from within his hospital room.

Dr. Sergio Alfieri, the pope’s surgeon, said he and the other medical professionals, for “prudence,” had advised the pope against giving a public Angelus address from the window of his hospital room, as he has done in the past, to avoid unnecessary strain to his abdominal muscles.

In July 2021, Pope Francis prayed the Angelus from a balcony of Gemelli Hospital one week after intestinal surgery, while June 11 he will only be four days’ postoperative, the surgeon said.

Bruni added that Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica, may read an Angelus message from the pope on Sunday.

The surgeon Alfieri said Pope Francis “is well” and his recovery is proceeding normally. He recalled that since the day prior, the pope is no longer connected to IVs, and from Saturday, he had moved from an all-liquid to a semi-liquid diet.

Post-operative blood tests and X-ray of the abdomen were “absolutely normal,” he added, noting that they would encourage Francis to remain in the hospital through next week.

Dr. Sergio Alfieri, the lead surgeon for Pope Francis' abdominal surgery, speaks at a press conference at Gemelli Hospital on June 7, 2023. Andreas Thonhauser/EWTN
Dr. Sergio Alfieri, the lead surgeon for Pope Francis’ abdominal surgery, speaks at a press conference at Gemelli Hospital on June 7, 2023. Andreas Thonhauser/EWTN

Alfieri also clarified, in response to questions from journalists, that Pope Francis does not currently have, nor has ever had, cardiac problems.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, secretary of state, told journalists on the morning of June 10 that Pope Francis was already expressing a desire to get back to work “and this is a good sign.”

Francis underwent a three-hour surgery for an incisional hernia on June 7. A team of surgeons removed scar tissue and operated on a hernia in the pope’s abdominal wall at the site of a previous surgical incision.

The Vatican said June 9 the pope was “steadily improving” two days after the surgery.

“The medical team reports that the clinical picture is steadily improving and the postoperative progress is normal,” Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said in a brief statement.

In another June 9 update on the pope, the Vatican said “Pope Francis is touched by the many messages he continues to receive in these hours; in particular, he intends to address his thoughts and thanks to the children currently hospitalized, for the affection and love received through their drawings and messages. To them, as well as to the medical staff, nurses, social-health workers, and spiritual assistants who daily touch pain with their hands, relieving its burden, he expresses his gratitude for their closeness and prayer.“

Alfieri, the pope’s main surgeon, said at a press conference shortly after the operation that Francis had been experiencing increasing pain for several months due to the hernia and decided on June 6 to undergo the surgery to correct it.

It was the 86-year-old Francis’ fifth operation, the second as pope. The first took place in 1957 and involved the removal of a part of his right lung, which had developed cysts following an illness. He also had an appendectomy in the past, according to Alfieri.

The second surgery, on the pope’s abdomen in 1980, removed his gallbladder, according to Vatican News, which referenced the 2021 book “La Salute dei Papi” (“The Health of the Popes”) by Nelson Castro.

Alfieri said June 7 that Pope Francis’ incisional hernia was likely from the incision of the 1980 abdominal surgery to remove his gallbladder, not his July 2021 intestinal surgery.

The gallbladder surgery involved an incision from the upper abdomen to the groin, according to the doctor who performed it. He found a gallbladder stone embedded in a cystic duct, which had caused Pope Francis — then Jesuit provincial superior — to have a gangrenous gallbladder.

This is Pope Francis’ third hospitalization in the past two years.

He was hospitalized for four days in March for a lung infection and had part of his large intestine removed in July 2021 due to diverticulitis.