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Pope Francis made public appearances on Sunday for the first time since last week’s major bowel surgery, greeting those well-wishers as he stood on a hospital balcony for 10 minutes, thanking the many people who prayed for his recovery, and advocating health care for all as ” previous thing “. . “
Francis, 84, has been steadily recovering from his surgery scheduled for July 4 to remove part of his colon that had narrowed from inflammation, according to the Vatican.
The Vatican did not say when the Pope could be dismissed. The morning after his surgery, a Holy See spokesman said his hospital stay was expected to be seven days, “subject to complications.”
The Pope’s voice sounded weak as he began his remarks after stepping onto a balcony outside his special suite in the Gemelli Polyclinic at noon local time. But he smiled broadly at those gathered below, including the hospital patients who were good enough to temporarily leave their rooms to cheer him on.
Pope Francis had a fever 3 days after an intestinal operation
Noon is the hour when he would traditionally have appeared from a window in the Vatican overlooking St. Peter’s Square to recite the Angelus or prayer. Exactly a week earlier, he had given no indication in his public statements that he would be in the hospital for an operation in a few hours.
“I’m delighted to be able to keep the Sunday Angelus appointment here from the Gemelli Polyclinic,” said Francis. “I thank everyone. I felt your closeness and the support of your prayers.”
“Thank you with all my heart!” exclaimed the Pope with a smile as he peered over the railing to get a better view of the believers below.
With him on the balcony were some children who were also hospitalized in Gemelli, a large Catholic teaching hospital on the outskirts of Rome. The crowd below often clapped encouragingly.
Francis was operated on for three hours under general anesthesia on the evening of July 4th and later that night described as being well addressed by the Holy See.
He read from prepared remarks and kept one or both hands on a lectern in support, even when he raised an arm in blessing.
The Pope praised the “tenderness” of the nurses, who are “like a caress that makes you better, relieves pain and lifts you up”.
“In these days of hospitalization, I have once again seen the importance of a good health service that is accessible to everyone, as is the case in Italy and other countries,” said Francis.
“We must not lose this precious thing,” said the Pope. He added, “Sometimes it happens in the (Catholic) Church that a health facility is not doing well economically because of bad administration, and the first thought that comes to mind is to sell it. But the calling in the church should not have money, it should serve. “
SPIDER-MAN SWINGING THROUGH THE VATICAN TO MEET POPE FRANCIS
Adding appreciation and encouragement for the health care workers, Francis then asked, “Why do children suffer?” With reference to the pediatric patients who joined him.
“Why children suffer is a question that touches the heart,” he added, calling on his followers to pray for them.
Although he was treated in a private hospital, Italy has a national public health service and residents can often be treated in private facilities with government reimbursement.
As usual on Sundays, Francis spoke about current events and matters of the heart. In his comments on the balcony, he reiterated his closeness to the Haitian people as he recalled the murder of the country’s president last week and the wounding of the first lady. Francis prayed that Haitians “could walk a path towards a future of peace and harmony”.
The world’s environmental fragility has been a major issue in his papacy since he took office in 2013. On Sunday, when countless people were vacationing on the coast, Francis urged people to take care of the “health of the seas”.
“No plastic in the sea!” asked the Pope.
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Without naming specific problems, he also expressed the hope that “Europe can be united in its basic values”, a possible indication of tensions between the heads of state and government of the European Union and the member Hungary over the enforcement of LGBTQ rights.
In addition to his apparently speedy recovery, Francis had another reason to smile on Sunday.
Argentina beat Brazil 1-0 overnight in the Copa America soccer final. Francis is a huge soccer fan and rooted in his native Buenos Aires for the San Lorenzo squad.