On the last leg of his Columbia tour, Pope Francis hurt his left eyelid and cheek bone when he lost balance while riding in the popemobile through a crowd in Cartagena, Colombia on Sunday. The Vatican said he received ice treatment and was fine to continue on his trip.
Video images showed the pope hitting the left side of his face against a vertical bar of the popemobile, a specially designed open-top vehicle that allows the pontiff to stand and greet the faithful as his motorcade advances.
A few drops of blood were seen on his white cassock and the area around his left eye looked bruised and swollen.
A smiling pope continued the trip wearing a bandage over his cut. “I was punched. I’m fine,” the pope joked as he left a house in the poor neighborhood of San Francisco on the last day of his trip to Colombia.
He later was seen with a small bandage over his left eyebrow.
At the end of the day, when he said mass for hundreds of thousands of people in the city’s port area, the bruise had swollen and he had blackened skin under his eye.
Pope Francis used the trip to urge Colombians deeply polarized by a peace plan to shun vengeance after a bloody 50-year civil war. He also said leaders had to enact laws to end injustice and social inequality that breeds violence.
Cartagena, a top tourist destination famous for its colonial walled ramparts, was the home to Saint Peter Claver, a Spanish priest who ministered to slaves in Colombia in the 1600s, defying Spanish colonial masters who treated them as chattel.