Pope Francis, for the first time, cancelled a spiritual sermon on Sunday, as he struggled with an unrelenting cough. The pontiff is fighting a severe cold for a week, as the thousands who gathered got an understanding of his suffering.
The 83-year-old Pope Francis ended the sermon quickly as he had difficulty breathing and was seen blowing his nose and coughing throughout the sermon. The believers gathered to participate in a week-long spiritual retreat in preparation of the Lenten season. The Vatican has described Francis condition as “a slight illness,” without giving other details. All the meetings of Pope have been cancelled and it is for the first time in the papacy that so many official meetings is being cancelled.
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.