On February 27, Pope Francis, aged 84, canceled a scheduled mass of what the Vatican press office described as a “minor imposition”, denying rumors that the Pope may have contracted COVID-19.
He was later seen coughing, sneezing and speaking in a hoarse voice.
Pope Francis first revealed he had sciatica (herniated disc) during an on-board press conference while visiting Brazil in 2013.
Francis said at the time, “The worst thing that happened – sorry – was the sciatica attack – really! – that I had in the first month, because I was sitting in an armchair doing the interviews and it was painful.” When asked what is the worst part of being a Pope. He added, “Sciatica is very painful, so painful! I don’t wish it would happen to anyone!”
On August 10, 2017, he announced that he was able to handle the case. The Vatican later confirmed that the pope had undergone treatment, including massages and injections twice a week to relieve leg pain.
Cardinal Giovanni Battista Rey, dean of the College of Cardinals, will replace the pope, as Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, will celebrate the end of the year Mass on Thursday afternoon. Pope Francis will continue to lead the Friday evangelization service as planned.
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