Vatican City — Pope Francis said on Sunday that the 84-year-old Pope was hospitalized for the first time since the 2013 elections, saying that he is doing well after bowel surgery.
Spokesman Matteo Bruni said in a statement that Pontif was “well responsive” to the surgery, which was performed under general anesthesia and said the Vatican had previously been scheduled.
He gave no further details about the surgery, or how long it lasted, and did not say how long the Pope would stay at the Gemmeri Hospital in Rome.
The Pope entered the hospital early Sunday afternoon and a statement was issued shortly before midnight Roman time.
Francis underwent surgery for symptomatic diverticulum stenosis of the colon. This is a condition in which a sac-like pouch protrudes from the muscular layer of the colon, narrowing the colon. The surgery was performed by a medical team of 10 people.
In addition to causing pain, this condition can lead to bloating, inflammation, and difficulty in defecation. It tends to affect older people more.
The Pope appeared healthy when he spoke to thousands of people at St. Peter’s Square a few hours ago for a Sunday blessing and announced a trip to Slovakia and Budapest in September.
The vast Catholic-run Gemmeri Hospital and Medical School in northern Rome traditionally treats the Pope, and part of its 10th floor is permanently reserved for them.
Francis had already shut down all public and individual audiences for the month, as it does every July. The surgery seemed to coincide with the time when he had only one pledge, the Sunday blessing at St. Peter’s Square.
Unlike his predecessor, he stayed in the Vatican and never used the vast Pope’s summer mansion in Alban Hills, southern Rome.
Francis may be short of breath when he was young in his native Argentina, when he was ill and had a part of his lungs removed.
He also suffers from sciatica, which causes pain that spreads from the waist to the legs along the sciatic nerve.
His condition of receiving regular physiotherapy forced him to miss some events earlier this year, and sometimes led him to walk hard.
Last year, he was unable to attend a week-long Lent retreat with a senior aide in southern Rome due to a severe cold.
In 2014, a year after being elected Pope, Francisco was thought to have a stomach illness and was forced to cancel some promises.