The 77-year-old Francis, who lost part of a lung to an infection in his youth, was due to leave the Vatican and visit with seminarians Friday evening.
But 30 minutes before he was due to arrive, Vatican guards told journalists at the seminary that he was ill and the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, later confirmed he had come down with a slight fever and wouldn’t attend.
|Pope Francis exchanges gifts with Romania’s Prime Minister Victor Ponta (right) and his wife Daciana Sarbu at the end of a private audience he held in his studio at the Vatican on Saturday. (AP-Yonhap)|
It was the second known time Francis has canceled an appearance due to illness in the year since he’s been pope. On Nov. 15, he scrapped his morning audiences because he came down with a cold.
Francis has had a busy two weeks: He presided over the third, three-day meeting of his Group of Eight cardinal advisers at which they mulled overhauling the Vatican bank and the Holy See’s financial administration. He also elevated 19 new cardinals at public services Saturday and Sunday, met with various groups, and on Thursday afternoon met with a group of Argentine Jews, Catholics and Muslims who had made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
Friday marked the anniversary of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.