WORLD NEWS

Coughing Pope Cancels Participating In Lenten Retreat

Mar 1, 2020, 12:45 PM | Updated: 12:47 pm
FILE: Pope Francis (Franco Origlia/Getty Images)...
FILE: Pope Francis (Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
(Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — A coughing Pope Francis told pilgrims gathered for the traditional Sunday blessing that he is canceling his participation at a week-long spiritual retreat in the Roman countryside because of a cold.

It is the first time in his seven-year papacy that he has missed the spiritual exercises that he initiated early in his pontificate to mark the start of each Lenten season. Such retreats are typical Jesuits, an order to which he belongs.

The 83-year-old pontiff, who lost part of a lung to a respiratory illness as a young man, has canceled several official engagements this week as he battled an apparent cold.

His weekly appearance Sunday to pilgrims from a window high above St. Peter’s Square was the first time he has been seen publicly since Ash Wednesday, when he was seen coughing and blowing his nose during Mass.

Francis paused twice to cough Sunday while addressing the faithful. At the end, he asked for prayers for the spiritual retreat, adding “unfortunately a cold prevents me from participating this year. I will be following the meditation from here.”

Earlier this week, the pope canceled two planned official audiences — formal affairs in the Apostolic Palace where Francis would have delivered a speech and greeted a great number of people at the end. Those were to include an audience with an international bioethics organization and with members of the scandal-marred Legion of Christ religious order.

Francis has never previously canceled so many official audiences or events in his papacy. He was, however, continuing to work from his residence at the Vatican’s Santa Marta hotel and was receiving people in private, the Vatican press office said. On Saturday, those private meetings were with the head of the Vatican’s bishops’ office, Francis’ ambassadors to Lebanon and France and a Ukrainian archbishop.

He was to have left Sunday for the retreat outside of Rome.

The Vatican has described Francis condition as “a slight illness,” without giving other details. Francis’ illness, though, has come amid general alarm in Italy over the coronavirus outbreak, which has infected more than 1,100 people, mostly in northern Italy.

There have been just six cases reported in Lazio, where Rome is located, to date.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

World News

HONG KONG, CHINA - OCTOBER 21: A Cathay Pacific passenger jet takes off from Hong Kong Internationa...
Tamara Hardingham-Gill, CNN

Hong Kong offers 500,000 free air tickets to tempt tourists back

Hong Kong has confirmed plans to give away half a million airline tickets in a bid to boost tourism.
11 hours ago
At least 22 children were among 34 people killed in a mass shooting at a child care center in north...
Kocha Olarn, Hannah Ritchie and Heather Chen, CNN

Children among at least 34 people killed in nursery shooting in Thailand

At least 22 children were among 34 people killed in a mass shooting at a child care center in northeastern Thailand on Thursday.
11 hours ago
Image for this story only...
Yoonjung Seo and Caitlin Hu

North Korea fires another missile as tensions rise around Korean Peninsula

North Korea fired another missile into the waters off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula on Thursday morning local time, according to South Korean and Japanese officials, escalating tensions in the area amid a series of shows of military might this week.
1 day ago
FILE - The logo of the Organization of the Petroleoum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is seen outside of...
David McHugh, AP Business Writer

OPEC+ makes big oil cut to boost prices; pump costs may rise

OPEC+ alliance makes big cut to world oil production to boost sagging prices, which could mean rising costs at the pump
1 day ago
FILE: SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - JULY 25:  Vladimir Putin, President of Russia speaks during the Pr...
Joshua Berlinger and Olga Voitovych, CNN

Ukraine is hitting Russia hard in the regions Moscow is trying to seize

Vladimir Putin sought to finalize the formalities of its claim to four Ukrainian regions, none of which are fully controlled by Russia anymore.
2 days ago
An aerial view of destroyed buildings on Oct. 3, 2022, in Izium, Ukraine. Izium is still without el...
Adam Schreck and Vasilisa Stepanenko, Associated Press

Russian losses evident in key liberated Ukrainian city

The bodies of Russian soldiers are lying in the streets of a key city in eastern Ukraine following their comrades' retreat that has marked the latest defeat for Moscow.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Coughing Pope Cancels Participating In Lenten Retreat