The Pope is to follow doctors' advice and miss today's traditional public blessing to allow himself to better heal after abdominal surgery.
Pope Francis underwent a three hour long operation on Wednesday to repair an abdominal hernia and is said to be recovering well at Rome’s Gemelli hospital.
However doctors have advised him not to deliver his Sunday blessing from a hospital balcony in order to avoid strain on his abdomen.
Briefing reporters at the hospital yesterday, chief surgeon Sergio Alfieri said the Pope had been taken off intravenous tubes and begun a semi-liquid diet. He also said that while all medical parameters were normal, the 86-year-old had agreed with doctors to stay in hospital for at least all of next week :
“Only three days have passed. We asked the Holy Father to be prudent and avoid the strain. Each time he gets out of bed and sits in an armchair puts stress on the abdominal walls.”
Vatican spokesperson, Matteo Bruni, said the pope would say Sunday’s traditional noon Angelus prayer in his hospital suite and the faithful could say it at the same time.
The Pope is due to visit Portugal at the beginning of August for World Youth Day and a visit to the Shrine of Fatima.