The director of the Holy See press office has denied reports in the Italian press that Pope Francis is suffering from a brain tumor, and denounced its dissemination as “gravely irresponsible."
Wednesday’s statement by Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., came in response an Oct 21 report by Italian agency Quotidiano Nazionale alleging that the Pope had been diagnosed with a small but curable brain tumor.
“The dissemination of totally unfounded news regarding the Holy Father’s health by an Italian press agency is gravely irresponsible and unworthy of attention," reads the Oct. 21 statement.
Fr. Lombardi also pointed out that Pope Francis’ busy schedule has continued without issue.
“Moreover, as everyone can see, the Pope is carrying out his very intense activity without interruption in a way that is absolutely normal."
Pope Francis is taking part in the Synod on the Family currently underway in the Vatican. Over the course of his pontificate he has cancelled few meetings and visits, maintaining an intense schedule including pastoral visits, presiding over major Vatican events, and papal trips, the latest of which was to America and Cuba.
Fr. Lombardi reconfirmed the Italian news agency’s article as false at a Vatican press briefing later the same day, saying the details of the report had been verified as having never taken place. He added that the publication of the report was unjustifiable.
The director of the Holy See press office also confirmed at Wednesday’s briefing that “the Pope enjoys good health,” as evidenced by his presence at the weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square.
The Pope has some difficulties with his leg, but “his head, it seems to me, is absolutely perfect,” he said.
By Ann Schneible