Pope Francis has suffered another attack of sciatica. A spokesman said on Saturday evening that he could not celebrate a mass planned for Sunday in St. He also canceled two more appointments at the beginning of the week. It is the second time within four weeks that the 84-year-old head of the church has canceled important ceremonies because of severe nerve pain in his legs.
In place of the Pope, Archbishop Rino Fisichella is celebrating the service on the so-called Sunday of the Word of God, said Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni. The New Year’s reception of the Diplomatic Corps scheduled for Monday will be postponed to a later date. The President of the Papal Ecumenical Council, Cardinal Kurt Koch, presided over the end of the worldwide week of prayer for Christian unity early Monday evening in the Roman Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls.
On the other hand, Francis wanted to say the usual noon prayer on Sunday in the Apostolic Palace, the spokesman continued. The prayer, which is combined with a short address and greetings to the faithful, is not held at the open window under Corona conditions, but is broadcast from the papal library via television and live stream on the Internet.
For the first time on New Year’s Eve, the Pope had to cancel his participation in ceremonies. He celebrated the first public service again on January 6th. Francis has had hip problems for a long time. He also suffered from sciatic neuralgia before his papal election in 2013. At the beginning of March, the head of the church is planning a four-day trip to Iraq, the first foreign visit in a year and a half.