Pope Francis skips meeting because he is running a fever, the Vatican says

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Pope Francis delivers his blessing as he attends the world's first meeting of the 'Educational Eco-Cities' promoted by the 'Scholas Occurrentes', at the Vatican, Thursday, May 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis skipped meetings Friday because he was running a fever after a particularly busy day, the Vatican said.

The Vatican No. 2, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said Francis was tired and attributed the fever to the fact that Francis had greeted, one by one, a particularly big crowd of his school foundation Thursday afternoon.

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“He wanted to greet all of them and probably at a certain point lost his resistance,” Parolin was quoted as saying by the LaPresse news agency.

The last time Francis spiked a serious fever, in March, the 86-year-old pontiff was rushed to the hospital where he was diagnosed with acute bronchitis. He received intravenous antibiotics and was released three days later.

A Vatican official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak about the pope’s health, had confirmed Francis didn’t receive anyone in audience Friday “because of a feverish state.”

There were no formal audiences scheduled Friday, but Francis keeps a separate, private and unofficial agenda of meetings with people he receives at his residence.

Francis has had a busy week, presiding over a meeting of the Italian bishops conference, participating in an afternoon encounter Thursday with his school foundation Scholas Occurentes, as well as meeting with several other prelates and visiting dignitaries.

He is due to preside over Pentecost Mass on Sunday in St. Peter's Basilica, and in a sign that he was expected to recover quickly, the Vatican on Friday announced a new official audience with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, scheduled for Monday.

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