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Pope Francis skips Sunday’s St. Peter’s Square appearance but says he’s doing better

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Pope Francis skipped his window appearance to the public Sunday in St. Peter’s Square after announcing that he wasn’t feeling well.

However, in televised remarks, the Pope said he’s doing better after being diagnosed with infectious bronchitis. He delivered brief remarks from the chapel of the Vatican hotel, which thousands watched from giant screens set up in the square.

On Tuesday, Francis canceled his planned trip to Dubai for the United Nations climate change conference. He had been scheduled to leave Friday but said he’s following the conference from afar.

“Pope Francis accepted the doctors’ request with great regret and the trip is therefore canceled,” Bruno Mattei, spokesperson for the Holy See press office, said in a statement.

More: Pope Francis says he’s ‘not well’ amid public audience after canceling Dubai trip

Francis had a “flu-like condition and inflammation of the respiratory tract” that were improving, the Vatican said Tuesday.

While speaking to healthcare workers on Thursday, Francis said he was advised against the Dubai trip since it’s “very hot there, and you go from heat to air conditioning.” He said he was grateful it wasn’t pneumonia.

During his public appearance on Wednesday, the Pope spoke briefly and asked an aide to read a prepared speech.

“Dear brothers and sisters, good day. Also today, I won’t be able to read everything. I’m getting better, but the voice still isn’t” enough to read everything, Francis said.

Health history of Pope Francis

Francis, who turns 87 on Dec. 17, has been hospitalized at least twice this year.

In June, he had abdominal surgery to repair a hernia and remove scarring and left the hospital in Rome nine days later. The Vatican said at the time that scarring from previous surgeries had been causing him pain and put him at risk of other health problems.

In March, Francis was hospitalized for three days after having difficulty breathing and was treated for bronchitis.

“Still alive,” he joked with reporters both times upon release from the hospital.

He also had colon surgery in 2021 and ocular surgery in 2019. He has sometimes used a cane or wheelchair because of knee trouble.

As a young man, he had part of one lung removed in his native Argentina.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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