Pope Francis responding well after scheduled intestinal surgery at Rome hospital

Pope Francis is “responding well” after surgery on his large intestine, the Vatican has said.

Spokesman Matteo Bruni said in a statement that the stenosis surgery was done under general anaesthesia but he gave no details about how long it lasted or how long the pope would remain in Rome’s Gemelli hospital.

The Vatican earlier said that the procedure had been scheduled and was not prompted by an emergency.

It came just hours after the head of the Catholic church greeted the crowds in St Peter’s Square and delivered mass, as per his usual Sunday tradition, and told those gathered he would be visiting Hungary and Slovakia in September.

The Vatican said Pope Francis, 84, had “symptomatic diverticular stenosis of the colon” – a narrowing in the large intestine.

The pontiff is in generally good health, but suffers from sciatica, which gives him occasional bouts of lower back pain.

He also had a lung removed as a child.

The pope’s diary was more busy than usual last week, including a mass celebration on Tuesday to honour Catholic saints Peter and Paul and presiding over a special prayer later in the week at a service for Lebanon.

He also hosted an audience with US Secretary Of State Anthony Blinken on Monday, with the Pope appearing to be in good spirits throughout his engagements.

Francis is not the first papal patient to have had surgery at the hospital, with John Paul II having a benign tumour removed in 1992.

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