Pope Francis is in the hospital. The head of the Catholic Church has been in the Gemelli Clinic in Rome since Wednesday afternoon “for some planned examinations,” said Matteo Bruni, spokesman for the Holy See. Further details, such as how long the 86-year-old will stay in the clinic and which controls or treatments are planned, have not been officially announced.

The newspaper “Corriere della Sera” reported on its website in the evening, citing sources in the university clinic, that the pope had been taken to the hospital by ambulance because of heart problems. The Adnkronos news agency wrote about breathing difficulties.

The Vatican canceled all Holy Father appointments for Thursday and Friday. The newspaper “Il Fatto Quotidiano” also reported that the audiences for the two days were canceled.

Planned interview cancelled

On Wednesday morning, the pontiff held his weekly general audience in front of thousands of believers in St. Peter’s Square. After that, a TV interview was actually planned. But Francis had to cancel this and was taken to the hospital instead, the reports said.

This representation contradicts the official statement from the Vatican, according to which the controls were “planned”. In addition, observers in Rome consider it fundamentally unusual to have allegedly planned extensive investigations so shortly before Palm Sunday and the Holy Week before Easter.

In July 2021, the Argentine had an operation on his intestines at the Gemelli Hospital. At that time he spent eleven days in the hospital. In a recent interview, he indicated that he was having problems with his intestines again. For more than a year he has also suffered from a severe knee problem, which usually forces him into a wheelchair. Francis has so far refused a knee operation – as was heard in the Vatican, he had not tolerated the anesthetic during the operation on the intestine.