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Pope Francis again cancels event, citing ailment

Published: Friday, June 27, 2014 3:06 p.m. CDT
Caption
(AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Pope Francis hugs a group of Spanish children coming from Madrid at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, June 25, 2014.

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis canceled a planned visit to one of Rome's main hospitals Friday, the third time this month the 77-year-old has skipped or scaled back an event due to illness or fatigue.

Francis had been due to visit the Gemelli hospital to celebrate a Mass there Friday afternoon. But nearly an hour after he was due to arrive, the Vatican issued a statement saying he was canceling the trip due to an "unexpected indisposition."

Later, the Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said the pope's appointments for the weekend were confirmed and that there were "no concerns for his health."

The Argentine-born pontiff has only one full lung and suffers from a bad back that can make walking painful. Earlier this month, he skipped two days of audiences due to a stomach bug, then decided not to walk a mile-long procession last week to rest up for a grueling trip to southern Italy.

He held up remarkably well during the hot, 12-hour trip to Calabria, even getting out of his car along the road at one point to bless a sick young man who was wheeled up to his motorcade on a stretcher.

He has another busy weekend ahead of him, including audiences on Saturday and a major Mass on Sunday in St. Peter's Square.

The Vatican has insisted the pope isn't suffering from any major health issues, pointing to his busy schedule and plans for a whirlwind trip to South Korea in August.

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Follow Nicole Winfield at www.twitter.com/nwinfield

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