Anxiety pervades the catholic church after Pope Francis cancelled Mass on thursday and a scheduled meeting with IBM and Microsoft executives today, due to a yet to be disclosed sickness.
This comes two days after the Catholic pontiff appeared to be suffering from a cold during Ash Wednesday Mass at the Vatican. In the video below, he can be seen sneezing and wiping his nose several times as the Mass went on.
The 83 year old Pontiff had earlier greeted pilgrims with hugs, handshakes and kisses to children in keeping with a tradition that’s common among the pontiffs.
In statement by the Vatican spokesperson Matteo Bruni, he said the pope celebrated mass today as he normally does but has cleared up his calendar for any scheduled event for the day apart from meetings at his official residence.
He also confirmed that the Pope was “slightly indisposed” but offered no further insight as to the nature of his illness.
On Wednesday, the pope voiced his support for the victims of the deadly Corona virus pandemic sweeping across the world.
Italy has the highest number of victims in Europe, with hundreds infected and several deaths recorded as well. Out of the 12,000 pilgrims, who turned out for Ash Wednesday Mass celebration at the Vatican, it was understood that only a few wore facial masks.
Twelve regions in Italy have already reported cases of the virus, with the northern part of the country the most affected.