Ailing Pope Francis Skips Palm Sunday Homily as Health Concerns Mount

As the Holy Week gets started, it’s impossible not to notice just how frail and ailing Pope Francis has become, and also maybe ask ourselves if the time is not arrived to abdicate and let the Church find a new pontiff.

At Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Square, with 60,000 people in attendance, Pope Francis at the last minute decided to skip his homily.

Francis also didn’t take part in the procession of cardinals around the obelisk in the square at the start of the Mass.

Associated Press reported:

“Francis had been expected to deliver a homily halfway through the service and a prepared text had been distributed to journalists. But when an aide presented Francis with his glasses to begin reading, the pope made clear he wouldn’t deliver the remarks, leaving the crowd waiting in silence.

Vatican officials didn’t immediately explain why. The Vatican press office later said the homily was replaced by ‘a moment of silence and prayer’.

Francis though did pronounce prayers throughout the service and offered a long appeal for peace at the end of the Mass. He said he was praying for the families of those killed in what he called an ‘inhuman’ attack at a suburban Moscow concert hall and also asked for prayers for ‘the martyred Ukraine’ and people of Gaza.”

Just reminding you that ‘head-of-state’ Francis has planned 2024 international trips to Argentina, Belgium, Polynesia and even (apparently canceled) Kosovo.

But hey – a homily in Holy Week is too tiring.

Francis spent several minutes greeting the faithful from the popemobile, making several loops around the piazza at the end of the service.

Pope Francis believes he is ‘healthy enough’ to carry on his pontificate.

Palm Sunday starts a fundamental week for Catholics, culminating in Easter Sunday when it’s celebrated the resurrection of Christ.

On Thursday, Francis will go to a women’s prison for the traditional washing of the feet ritual.

On Good Friday he is to preside over the torchlit Way of the Cross procession at Rome’s Coliseum, re-enacting Christ’s crucifixion.

Saturday marks the Easter Vigil, a solemn nighttime service in the basilica, followed by Easter Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Square and his noontime blessing from the loggia above.

It’s hard work, even for a fit Pontiff.

“The Holy Week schedule is challenging for popes even under the best of circumstances. But that is especially true this year for Francis, who has been battling on and off all winter what he and the Vatican have described as a case of the flu, bronchitis or a cold.”

The AP report goes to note that ‘even when he isn’t sick, Francis often speaks in a whisper and seems to run out of breath easily’.

“At the end of the Mass, Francis offered a long prayer for peace for all those suffering from war, and for the Lord to comfort the victims of the ‘vile terrorist attack’ in Moscow. ‘May he convert the hearts of those who protect, organize and carry out these inhuman acts that offend God, who commanded us not to kill’, Francis said.”

 

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