‘I am still alive,’ Pope Francis jokes as he leaves hospital


Pope Francis on Saturday was discharged from Gemelli hospital in Rome, where he stayed for three days for treatment of bronchitis.

“I just felt a malaise, but I wasn’t afraid,” he told journalists outside the Rome hospital before being driven away. “I’m still alive, you know.”

The pontiff confirmed he would be in St Peter’s Square for Palm Sunday Mass to mark the start of Holy Week, which culminates on Easter, April 9. “Tomorrow I will celebrate Palm Sunday,” he said.

The pope, 86, was hospitalized on Wednesday at Gemelli after suffering some breathing problems. The Vatican said he received antibiotics intravenously to treat his bronchitis, showing quick and “marked” improvements.

The Argentine pontiff, who marked 10 years as head of the Catholic Church earlier this month, had part of one of his lungs removed at a young age.

In July 2021, Francis spent 10 days at Gemelli after undergoing a three-hour surgery that included the removal of the descending part of the colon, a surgery administered to treat diverticulitis.

Francis also has a knee problem that has forced him to often use a wheelchair in the past few months.

In recent interviews, he indicated he might resign like his predecessor Benedict XVI if poor health makes it impossible for him to continue doing his job.

*Writing by Ahmet Gencturk in Athens



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