ROME — The Vatican announced on Sunday that Pope Francis had been admitted to a hospital in Rome for a “scheduled surgery” of the colon.
Matteo Bruni, a Vatican spokesman, said in a statement that Francis, 84, had been taken to the Gemelli hospital in the Italian capital. Mr. Bruni said the surgery would take place later on Sunday, and noted that a medical bulletin would be issued afterward. He said that the pope had “symptomatic diverticular stenosis of the colon.”
The surgery would be performed by Dr. Sergio Alfieri, who heads the hospital’s complex operational unit for digestive surgery, the Vatican said.
It is the first time that Francis has been admitted to a hospital since becoming pope in 2013. Unlike his predecessors, he has never left the Vatican for the cooler papal residence in Castel Gandolfo, near Rome, during the summer. He normally slows down his schedule in July.
In general, his health has not raised concerns. More than 60 years ago, he had an upper lobe of his lung removed as a result of complications from tuberculosis. At times, his breathing has seemed labored during speeches.
He also has sciatica, a condition that causes leg and back pain, and has missed engagements in the past. This past year, he missed New Year’s Eve and Day services because of a flare-up.
Earlier Sunday, the pope looked serene while addressing people gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the weekly Angelus prayer and blessing. Announcing that he would be visiting Slovakia in September, he smiled happily when cheers went up from the crowd.
As usual, he closed his greetings by wishing everyone a “good Sunday.”
“And please do not forget to pray for me,” he said.