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Pope had another peaceful night in hospital, Vatican says

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Pope Francis spent another peaceful night in hospital, the Vatican said on Friday, two days after the pontiff underwent abdominal surgery that doctors say went as planned.

“Last night also went well. More information during the course of the day,” the Vatican press office said in a short statement.

Francis underwent a three-hour operation on Wednesday to repair a hernia, which doctors said was successful enough that he should have no limitations on his travels and other activities after he recovers.

It is the third hospital stay for Francis since cardinals chose the Argentinian in 2013 as the first Latin American pope, and it is the latest in a string of health problems for him.

In July 2021 he had part of his colon removed in an operation aimed at addressing a painful bowel condition called diverticulitis. He said earlier this year that the condition had returned and was affecting his weight.

Doctor Sergio Alfieri, the chief surgeon who operated on the pope at Rome’s Gemelli hospital, said on Wednesday that Francis had reacted well to general anaesthesia and that he expected the pontiff to be in hospital for about five to seven days.

But speaking to reporters after the surgery, Alfieri cautioned that while the pope was strong he was also elderly and recently had bronchitis so “we will take all necessary precautions” regarding the length of the hospital stay.

Francis has two trips planned for this summer, to Portugal Aug. 2-6 to attend the World Youth Day and visit the Shrine of Fatima, and to Mongolia Aug. 31-Sept. 4.

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Flowers are seen at the statue of Pope John Paul II at Gemelli Hospital where Pope Francis is hospitalised for surgery on his abdomen, in Rome, Italy, June 9, 2023. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

Pope Francis reacts as he attends the weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, June 7, 2023. REUTERS/Yara Nardi