Gerard O’ConnellJuly 07, 2021
Pope Francis speaks during his general audience in the San Damaso Courtyard of the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican on June 23, 2021. (CNS file photo/Paul Haring)Pope Francis speaks during his general audience in the San Damaso Courtyard of the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican on June 23, 2021. (CNS file photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis continues to make “regular and satisfactory” progress after an intestinal operation on July 4, but the histological examination of the part of the intestine that was removed showed that he suffered from a “severe” restriction of the bowel, caused by either bacterial infection or a mechanical obstruction.

The director of the Vatican press office, Matteo Bruni, issued the new report on the pope’s condition at midday, July 7, in Italian, Spanish and English. It is based on the information provided by the pope’s doctors at the Gemelli Hospital, and is the only official report on his health.

It said: “The post-operative progress of His Holiness Pope Francis continues to be regular and satisfactory. The Holy Father has continued to eat regularly and infusion therapy has been suspended.”

The report revealed that “a severe diverticular stenosis with signs of sclerosing diverticulitis.” It is the first time the doctors have used the word “severe” in relation to the pope’s surgery.

Infusion therapy is when medication or fluids are administered through a needle or catheter. It is a way of delivering medication that cannot be taken orally, or that needs to be dispensed at a controlled pace.

Significantly, the report also revealed that “the final histological examination has confirmed a severe diverticular stenosis with signs of sclerosing diverticulitis.” It is the first time the doctors have used the word “severe” in relation to the pope’s surgery.

An Italian doctor consulted by America, who is not associated with Gemelli Hospital and who asked not to be named, said this means the pope’s doctors examined the tissue specimens from the part of the intestine that was removed (they did not reveal its length) and concluded that he suffered from “a severe diverticular stenosis.” That is a severe restriction of the bowel with “signs of sclerosing diverticulitis,” which would have been caused by either a bacterial infection or a mechanical problem. 

According to yesterday’s report, the pope is expected to remain in the hospital for about seven days, presuming there are no complications. The doctor consulted by America agreed, but said the pope will have to rest, and it will take several weeks before he will have fully recovered from this operation.

The final part of the July 7 report, which is likely to have been inserted at his request, said: “Pope Francis is touched by the many messages and the affection received in these days, and expresses his gratitude for the closeness and prayer.”

Messages and good wishes have arrived at the Vatican from across the world, not only from cardinals, bishops and the faithful in many countries, but also from heads of states.

Here is the full text of the Vatican statement:

The post-operative progress of His Holiness Pope Francis continues to be regular and satisfactory. The Holy Father has continued to eat regularly and infusion therapy has been suspended. The final histological examination has confirmed a severe diverticular stenosis with signs of sclerosing diverticulitis. Pope Francis is touched by the many messages and the affection received in these days, and expresses his gratitude for the closeness and prayer.

We don’t have comments turned on everywhere anymore. We have recently relaunched the commenting experience at America and are aiming for a more focused commenting experience with better moderation by opening comments on a select number of articles each day.

But we still want your feedback. You can join the conversation about this article with us in social media on Twitter or Facebook, or in one of our Facebook discussion groups for various topics.

Or send us feedback on this article with one of the options below:

We welcome and read all letters to the editor but, due to the volume received, cannot guarantee a response.

In order to be considered for publication, letters should be brief (around 200 words or less) and include the author’s name and geographic location. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

We open comments only on select articles so that we can provide a focused and well-moderated discussion on interesting topics. If you think this article provides the opportunity for such a discussion, please let us know what you'd like to talk about, or what interesting question you think readers might want to respond to.

If we decide to open comments on this article, we will email you to let you know.

If you have a message for the author, we will do our best to pass it along. Note that if the article is from a wire service such as Catholic News Service, Religion News Service, or the Associated Press, we will not have direct contact information for the author. We cannot guarantee a response from any author.

We welcome any information that will help us improve the factual accuracy of this piece. Thank you.

Please consult our Contact Us page for other options to reach us.

City and state/province, or if outside Canada or the U.S., city and country. 
When you click submit, this article page will reload. You should see a message at the top of the reloaded page confirming that your feedback has been received.

The latest from america

Tlaxpana is among hundreds of communities across Mexico dealing with the sudden loss of parish priests during the Covid pandemic.
Jan-Albert HootsenJuly 27, 2021
History was made in the Vatican this morning when the trial against Cardinal Angelo Becciu and nine other persons on charges including abuse of office, embezzlement and fraud.
Gerard O’ConnellJuly 27, 2021
Hidilyn Diaz became the Philippines’ first Olympic gold medal winner, set an Olympic record — and thanked her friends who prayed the Miraculous Medal novena.
Many Catholics are now devastated to lose access to a treasured rite that has nourished their spiritual lives for decades.
Jonathan CulbreathJuly 27, 2021