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Sea Sunday 2021: Vatican calls for dignified conditions for maritime workers

Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, at a Vatican press conference July 7, 2020. / Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.

Vatican City, Jul 7, 2021 / 13:00 pm (CNA).

In a message for Sea Sunday, a Vatican cardinal appealed to the international community to ensure that those who work at sea are treated with full human dignity.

Cardinal Peter Turkson, the prefect of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, said that since September 2020, an estimated 400,000 seafarers have been stranded at sea because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He also said that the coronavirus had worsened working and living conditions for thousands who have been forced to work for months longer than usual while separated for long periods from their families.

“We appeal to ship owners, management companies, agents, and recruiters to regard crew members as more than ‘labor force’ and remember that they are human beings,” he said.

“We urge the development of working practices, which are based on human dignity rather than profit,” he added, “and so provide everything, which is necessary to improve the mental, physical and spiritual well-being of seafarers.”

Turkson’s message was given for the annual celebration of Sea Sunday, which falls this year on July 11. The day is an initiative of a Catholic charity that helps seafarers worldwide.

In September 2020, the organization changed its name from the Apostleship of the Sea to Stella Maris, after one of the Latin titles of veneration of the Virgin Mary.

Stella Maris celebrated its 100th anniversary in October 2020.

In his message, Cardinal Turkson said, “we thank the People of the Sea for their work, and our gratitude is transformed in our prayer that the Lord grants them strength in moments of weakness, unity in diversity, safe and smooth sailing and, at the end of their contract, happiness to be reunited with their loved ones.”

He said that there were also other problems connected to COVID-19, including a lack of clear policies on vaccination for seafarers.

“Because of this pandemic, we would like to invite the maritime industry to learn to act as one by facilitating crew changes and vaccinations and strengthening the implementation of international standards to enhance and protect the human and working rights of the People of the Sea,” Turkson said.

The cardinal also pointed out that 38 piracy incidents have been reported since the start of the year. While the number of these incidents had gone down, he said, “violence against crew is increasing.”

“These are sad reminders of the fragility of a maritime industry, which has already been tested by the pandemic,” he commented. “Seafarers have the right to perform their work without running the risk of being kidnapped, injured or even killed.”

“We request all governments and international organizations to determine long-lasting solutions to the scourge of piracy, mindful of the need to address the fundamental problem of the inequality in the distribution of goods between countries and the exploitation of natural resources.”

Turkson also expressed concern about shipwrecks and marine accidents, noting that though sometimes these happen due to the forces of nature, there are still “too many instances of negligence by those who prefer to prioritize profit over safety and security.”

“We lift our prayers to Mary, Star of the Sea, to accompany those who are no longer with us to the safe harbor of heaven and comfort the devastated relatives and friends who are left behind,” he said.

Turkson recalled the efforts made by Stella Maris chaplains and volunteers to be at the service of seafarers and fishers during the pandemic.

“They are present in their lives, constantly adapt their ministry to changing circumstances, and address seafarers‘ spiritual and material needs,” he explained.

“We entrust to Mary, Star of the Sea, the well-being of the People of the Sea, the commitment and dedication of chaplains and volunteers and we entreat Our Lady to continue to protect us all from every danger, especially from COVID-19,” he concluded.

Bishops of Argentina, Uruguay pray for the recovery of Pope Francis

Pope Francis gives the Angelus address overlooking St. Peter's Square, June 27, 2021. / Vatican Media/CNA.

Vatican City, Jul 7, 2021 / 12:30 pm (CNA).

The bishops of Argentina and Uruguay expressed their closeness and prayers for the swift recovery of Pope Francis, who underwent surgery July 4.

Pope Francis underwent a scheduled surgery at the Agostino Gemelli Polyclinic in Rome to treat diverticular stenosis.

The Holy Father has progressed well and will remain hospitalized for seven days.

The Argentine bishops’ conference prayed for "the speedy recovery of dear Pope Francis."

"May the Our Lady of Luján, the patroness of Argentina, continue to protect you in your mission as Pastor of the Universal Church," the conference tweeted.

The Permanent Council of the Uruguayan bishops’ conference expressed in a letter a "close and affectionate greeting at this time of convalescence."

The greeting sent "on behalf of all the bishops" promises the prayers "of our entire Church for your speedy recovery, to continue your work of leading the Lord's flock."

"At the same time, we pray that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, will continue to sustain you in your mission to confirm us in the faith," the Uruguayan bishops said.

Pope Francis grateful for prayers as he recovers from intestinal surgery

Pope Francis, pictured April 17, 2013. Credit: Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk.

Vatican City, Jul 7, 2021 / 04:14 am (CNA).

Pope Francis is grateful for prayers as he recovers in hospital from intestinal surgery, the Vatican said Wednesday.

The Holy See press office announced July 7 that Pope Francis was making “regular and satisfactory” progress in his recovery after undergoing an operation on his colon on the evening of July 4.

“Pope Francis is touched by the many messages and the affection received in these days, and expresses his gratitude for the closeness and prayer,” Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said.

Bruni added that the pope was eating regularly and no longer needed intravenous treatment.

The Vatican said July 4 that the pope was at the hospital to undergo an operation to relieve stricture of the colon caused by diverticulitis, a common condition that involves the formation of small bulges or sacs on the wall of the colon.

The surgery, which was carried out under general anesthesia, lasted about three hours and included a hemicolectomy, the removal of one side of the colon.

Bruni said July 7 that Pope Francis’ latest examination confirmed that there was “severe diverticular stenosis [narrowing] with signs of sclerosing [hardening] diverticulitis.”

This is the 84-year-old Francis’ first major operation during his pontificate. In 2019, he had an outpatient surgery for cataracts and he occasionally suffers from flare-ups of sciatic pain.

Religious and political leaders around the world have expressed their well-wishes and prayers for the pope as he recovers in hospital.

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, who lives in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in Vatican City, is also praying for Pope Francis.

Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Benedict’s personal secretary, told Italian media that the retired pope “lovingly directs his thoughts to Pope Francis and fervently prays for him,” the German section of Vatican News reported July 6.

Pope Francis is staying in Gemelli University Hospital, located on Rome’s highest hill, Monte Mario.

The pope’s hospital room is on the 10th floor of the sprawling polyclinic in a wing reserved for papal medical emergencies. The pope’s medical suite can be identified from the street by its five large windows covered by white blinds.

It is the same room where John Paul II stayed during many of his hospital treatments, including for a colon surgery in 1992 and his hospitalization after being shot in an assassination attempt in 1981.

/ Courtney Mares/CNA.
/ Courtney Mares/CNA.

The comparison has prompted speculation as to whether Pope Francis will deliver his Sunday Angelus address from the hospital window, as John Paul II famously did.

The month of July is when Pope Francis typically takes a break from his busy schedule. His Wednesday audiences with the public and other meetings are suspended for the month. His only scheduled public appointment in July is the Angelus on Sundays.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said July 5 that the pope was expected to spend seven days recovering in the hospital, “barring complications.”

A 10-person medical team was involved in Francis’ procedure, during which some “complications” arose, some Italian media outlets reported.

The complications caused the operation to be more invasive than the originally planned laparoscopy. The Vatican has not confirmed these details.

Pope Francis urges Indian Catholics to commit to uniform Syro-Malabar liturgy

A liturgy at St. Mary’s Syro-Malabar Major Archiepiscopal Church, Arakuzha, India. / Achayan via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0).

Vatican City, Jul 6, 2021 / 13:00 pm (CNA).

Pope Francis has written a letter to leaders of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church urging the implementation of a more uniform offering of their liturgy.

More than 20 years after the Synod of Bishops of the Syro-Malabar Church agreed unanimously to standardize their Eucharistic liturgy, called the Holy Qurbana, the Eastern Church has continued to face division and conflict.

In the letter published by the Vatican on July 6, Pope Francis exhorted “all the clergy, religious and lay faithful to proceed to a prompt implementation of the uniform mode of celebrating the Holy Qurbana, for the greater good and unity of your Church.”

“I strongly urge the Syro-Malabar Bishops to persevere, and I confirm their ecclesial ‘walking together’ with God’s people, trusting that ‘time is greater than space’ and that ‘unity prevails over conflict,’” Francis wrote in the letter dated July 3, the day before the pope underwent a surgery at Rome’s Gemelli Hospital.

July 3 is a significant date for Syro-Malabar Catholics as it is the feast of St. Thomas the Apostle, who is believed to have brought Christianity to India.

The Syro-Malabar Church is one of the 23 Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion with Rome. Based in Kerala, southern India, the Church has more than four million members worldwide. It uses the ancient East Syriac Rite and the vernacular language of its liturgies is Malayalam.

In addition to India, there are Syro-Malabar eparchies, or dioceses, in the U.K, U.S., Canada, and Australia.

Pope Francis wrote that the decision of the 1999 Synod of Bishops of the Syro-Malabar Church to bring uniformity to their liturgy was “an important step towards increasing the stability and ecclesial communion within the whole body of your beloved Church” that gave “joyful confidence in your sui iuris [autonomous] Church to my saintly predecessor Pope John Paul II.”

“Notwithstanding some difficulties, which require ongoing discernment in the life of your vibrant Church, the approved norms for the Eucharistic celebration have borne considerable fruit including evangelization in those places, especially the missionary Eparchies, where the whole community has joined in peaceful and prayerful observance, interpreting the continuing consensus of the Hierarchy as a fruit of the Holy Spirit,” the pope said.

Pope Francis wrote that he entrusted Syro-Malabar Catholics to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, and St. Thomas.

“May the Holy Spirit foster harmony, fraternity and unity among all members of your Church as you work to implement the Synodal decision,” he said.

Benedict XVI praying ‘fervently’ for Pope Francis’ recovery from surgery

Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI greet each other at the 65th priestly ordination of Pope Emeritus XVI at the Clementine Hall. / © L’Osservatore Romano

Vatican City, Jul 6, 2021 / 05:00 am (CNA).

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI is praying for Pope Francis after he underwent intestinal surgery on Sunday.

Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Benedict’s personal secretary, told Italian media that the retired pope “lovingly directs his thoughts to Pope Francis and fervently prays for him,” the German section of Vatican News reported.

Pope Francis is recovering at Rome’s Gemelli Hospital this week after undergoing an operation on Sunday evening to relieve stricture of the colon caused by diverticulitis.

The surgery, which was carried out under general anesthesia, lasted about three hours and included a hemicolectomy, which is the removal of one side of the colon.

“His Holiness Pope Francis is in good general condition, alert and breathing spontaneously,” Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni told journalists on July 5.

On July 6, the spokesman said that the 84-year-old pope had “rested well during the night,” and had eaten breakfast, read some newspapers, and got up to walk during the morning.

Pope Francis’ recovery post-operation was proceeding normally, Bruni added.

Colonic stricture, also called stenosis, is a condition in which part of the large intestine becomes narrower than usual. It can become dangerous if it is too narrow to let food safely pass through.

Diverticulitis, a common condition that involves the formation of small bulges or sacs on the wall of the colon, can cause the stricture.

The hospital treating Pope Francis has also had other Catholic figures as patients. The Catholic hospital and medical school treated Pope John Paul II after he was shot in an assassination attempt in 1981. Mother Teresa received care from the hospital’s cardiology department in 1992.

Last week, Pope Francis thanked the 94-year-old Benedict XVI for his continual prayer for the Church in his retirement, calling the pope emeritus “the contemplative of the Vatican.”

The pope spoke on the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, the 70th anniversary of Benedict XVI’s ordination to the priesthood.

“To you, Benedict, dear father and brother, goes our affection, our gratitude, and our closeness,” he said.

Noting that Benedict XVI lives in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in Vatican City, Francis said that “he is now the contemplative of the Vatican, who spends his life praying for the Church and for the diocese of Rome, of which he is bishop emeritus.”

“Thank you for your credible witness. Thank you for your gaze, constantly directed toward the horizon of God. Thank you,” he added.

Pope Francis recovering in same hospital room where St. John Paul II was treated

Rome’s Gemelli Hospital, pictured on July 5, 2021, as Pope Francis convalesces after a surgery. / Courtney Mares/CNA.

Vatican City, Jul 6, 2021 / 04:22 am (CNA).

Pope Francis is recovering from his colon surgery this week in the same hospital room where John Paul II was treated throughout his pontificate.

The Vatican said July 6, two days after the operation, that the pope had “rested well overnight” and his routine follow-up examinations were good.

/ Courtney Mares/CNA.
/ Courtney Mares/CNA.

“This morning he had breakfast, read some newspapers, and got up to walk,” Matteo Bruni, director of the Holy See press office, said.

For the rest of this week, Pope Francis is scheduled to stay in Gemelli University Hospital, located atop Monte Mario, the highest hill in Rome.

The pope’s hospital room is situated on the 10th floor of the sprawling polyclinic in a wing reserved for papal medical emergencies. The pope’s medical suite can be identified from the street by its five large windows covered by white blinds.

It is the same room where John Paul II stayed during many of his hospital treatments, including for a colon surgery in 1992 and his hospitalization after being shot in an assassination attempt in 1981.

/ Courtney Mares/CNA.
/ Courtney Mares/CNA.

St. John Paul II was admitted to the hospital so many times during his more than 25-year pontificate that he once referred to Gemelli as the “third Vatican” after Vatican City and Castel Gandolfo, the popes’ summer residence.

The comparison has prompted speculation as to whether Pope Francis will deliver his Sunday Angelus address from the hospital window, as John Paul II famously did.

As of July 6, the Angelus address remains the only event on Pope Francis’ public calendar for the upcoming weeks. The pope traditionally suspends his Wednesday general audiences during July.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said July 5 that the pope was expected to spend seven days recovering in the hospital, “barring complications.”

Pope Francis underwent a three-hour operation on the evening of July 4 in which part of his colon was surgically removed.

A 10-person medical team was involved in the procedure, during which some Italian media outlets, including the Rome newspaper Il Messaggero, reported that “complications” arose, causing the operation to be more invasive than the originally planned laparoscopy. The Vatican has not confirmed these details.

/ Courtney Mares/CNA.
/ Courtney Mares/CNA.

At the age of 84, Pope Francis has only had one other operation during his eight years as pope. He last underwent an operation in 2019, for cataracts.

Earlier this year, the pope was forced to miss several public events due to a recurrence of the sciatic pain that struck him at the end of 2020. Francis has suffered from the painful condition for several years.

Religious and political leaders around the world have expressed their well-wishes and prayers for Pope Francis as he recovers in hospital.

Archbishop José Gomez, the president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, offered prayers for Pope Francis’ recovery on U.S. Independence Day.

“As we paused to celebrate the 4th of July, Catholics across the United States took time to pray for the Holy Father. We join our brothers and sisters around the world in praying for the continued recovery of Pope Francis,” he said.

“Lord, may our shepherd and all those in the hospital for healing in these days find strength and comfort in your love.”

Imam, rabbi, and Orthodox patriarch wish Pope Francis a swift recovery

Pope Francis with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople outside the Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli Oct. 20, 2020. / Vatican Media.

Vatican City, Jul 5, 2021 / 11:00 am (CNA).

Religious and political leaders around the world have expressed their well-wishes and prayers for Pope Francis as he recovers in hospital from an intestinal surgery.

“I wish my dear brother, Pope Francis, a speedy recovery to continue his dedication to humanity,” Ahmad al-Tayyeb, the Grand Imam of al-Azhar in Cairo, Egypt, wrote on Twitter on July 5.

The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople also expressed his “fraternal wishes for a quick convalescence” in a message to the 84-year-old pope, according to Vatican News.

Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the world’s Eastern Orthodox Christians, assured the pope of his prayers and his hope that they would continue to “carry out together the indispensable mission of unity, to which Christ calls us.”

The Orthodox patriarch shared a quotation from St. Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians, “The weakness of God is stronger than human strength,” and added that the mystery of Christ is present “in our sufferings so that the Gospel may be alive in us.”

Riccardo Di Segni, the chief rabbi in Rome, also wished the pope “a speedy recovery” in a post on Twitter.

Pope Francis underwent a three-hour operation on the evening of July 4 in which part of his colon was surgically removed.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said on July 5 that the pope was “in good condition” and alert the morning after the surgery at Rome’s Gemelli Hospital.

The pope is expected to spend the next week recovering in the hospital, “barring complications,” Bruni said.

The Anglican Center in Rome posted on Twitter on July 5: “As His Holiness Pope Francis undergoes surgery, he is very much in our thoughts and prayers. We wish him a speedy recovery. May the Lord sustain him with the tenderness of his love.”

Political leaders across the globe also wrote to the pope as he recovers in the hospital.

The office of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari released a statement that asked all Nigerians to pray for the pope’s recovery.

The Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro said in a message that Pope Francis would be accompanied during his recovery by Blessed José Gregorio Hernández, the recently beatified Venezuelan doctor known as the “doctor of the poor.”

The Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi also expressed “affectionate wishes for a rapid convalescence and quick healing,” according to his office.

The president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines issued a statement inviting Catholics to ask the Virgin Mary to intercede for the pope’s recovery.

“I enjoin everyone to pray to the Lord and beg for our Blessed Mother’s intercession for the speedy recovery of Pope Francis,” Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao wrote.

“Let us pray together -- clergy, religious and consecrated persons … our lay faithful -- for the complete recovery of Pope Francis,” he said.

Pope Francis to spend week recovering in hospital after intestinal surgery

Pope Francis attends a Prayer Meeting for Peace in Rome's Piazza del Campidoglio Oct. 20, 2020. / Vatican Media.

Vatican City, Jul 5, 2021 / 04:20 am (CNA).

Pope Francis is expected to spend the next week in hospital as he recovers from intestinal surgery, according to the Vatican.

“His Holiness Pope Francis is in good general condition, alert and breathing spontaneously,” Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni told journalists on July 5.

The pope underwent a surgery at Rome’s Gemelli Hospital on July 4 to relieve stricture of the colon caused by diverticulitis.

The surgery lasted for about three hours and included a hemicolectomy, which is the removal of the left part of the colon.

The procedure was carried out under general anesthesia. Dr. Sergio Alfieri performed the surgery with the assistance of nine other physicians.

Colonic stricture, also called stenosis, is a condition in which part of the large intestine becomes narrower than usual. It can become dangerous if it is too narrow to let food safely pass through.

Diverticulitis, a common condition that involves the formation of small bulges or sacs on the wall of the colon, can cause the stricture.

Recovery from diverticulitis surgery typically includes a hospital stay of up to a week and at least another two weeks of limited activity.

As of July 5, there are no major events scheduled on Pope Francis’ public calendar for the upcoming weeks. The pope traditionally suspends his general audiences during July.

At the age of 84, Pope Francis has only had one other operation during his eight years as pope. He last underwent an operation in 2019, for cataracts.

Earlier this year, the pope was forced to miss several public events due to a recurrence of the sciatic pain that struck him at the end of 2020. Francis has suffered from the painful condition for several years.

After his personal physician died from complications related to COVID-19 in January, Pope Francis appointed internalist Roberto Bernabei as his doctor.

Bernabei is a specialist in aging and director of the School of Specialization in Geriatrics at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome. He was present in the surgical suite during the pope’s intestinal surgery in Gemelli hospital.

The Catholic hospital and medical school has treated other popes and Catholic figures, including John Paul II after he was shot in an assassination attempt and Mother Teresa, who was treated in the clinic’s cardiology department.

Traditional Latin Mass advocates appeal to Pope to protect Summorum Pontificum

A Mass said for the Summorum Pontificum pilgrimage in Rome held Oct. 25, 2014. / Daniel Ibanez/CNA.

Denver Newsroom, Jul 4, 2021 / 12:26 pm (CNA).

A federation that advocates for the Traditional Latin Mass has appealed to Pope Francis to protect it from those "within the Church, including some bishops, who would like to see the Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite explicitly suppressed." 

"In 2007, the Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum recognised the vitality of the traditional liturgy, the freedom of priests to celebrate it, and of the faithful to request it,” the statement reads. “This has led to an ongoing increase in the number of celebrations of the ancient Latin Mass, and of its spiritual fruits."

The statement came in the form of an advertisement published July 4 in the left-leaning Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica. It was signed by Felipe Alanis Suarez, the president of the international federation Una Voce. 

The organization reportedly conducted a survey of Catholics in 364 dioceses in 52 countries on the implementation of Summorum Pontificum

The survey, according to the statement, found that "the ancient Latin Mass is deeply appreciated by groups of faithful of all ages, especially families with children"  and that in many areas "the increased availability of this Mass has favoured the normalisation of relations between the faithful attached to it and their bishops."

Una Voce ("One Voice") was founded in 1967, and is not related to the movement started by Marcel Lefebvre. Its principal aims are "to ensure that the traditional Roman rite of the Church is maintained in the Church as one of the forms of liturgical celebration, and to safeguard and promote the use of Latin, Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony and all the sacred, artistic, literary and musical traditions of the Roman Church in all their beauty and integrity."

In the July 4 statement, Una Voce wrote that "contrary to the previous policy of the Holy See, there are still people within the Church, including some bishops, who would like to see the Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite explicitly suppressed, or subject to further restrictions."

The statement argues, quoting words from Pope Francis, that "the growth of interest in the traditional liturgy is not due to nostalgia for a time we do not remember, or a desire for rigidity; it is rather a matter of opening ourselves to the value of something that for most of us is new, and inspires hope. Pope Francis has characterised the ancient liturgy in terms of a 'sense of adoration;' we can also apply his words to it: a 'living history that welcomes us and pushes us forward' (Evangelii Gaudium 13)."

Una Voce also wrote, "we only wish to be part of that 'great orchestra' of 'unity in variety' which, as Pope Francis said (General Audience of 9 October 2013), reflects the true catholicity of the Church. The Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum continues to transform the conflicts of the past into harmony: long may it continue to do so."

Updated: Pope Francis ‘well’ after surgery on colon for diverticulitis

Pope Francis stands outside a car during the general audience June 30, 2021. / Pablo Esparza/CNA.

Rome, Italy, Jul 4, 2021 / 08:12 am (CNA).

Pope Francis has “reacted well” to a surgery he underwent at a Rome hospital Sunday to relieve stricture of the colon caused by diverticulitis, the Holy See Press Office stated.

A statement from the Holy See Press Office director, Matteo Bruni, sent at 11:42 p.m. Rome time, said the evening operation was carried out under general anesthesia.

An earlier Vatican statement had said the pope was taken to Rome’s Gemelli Hospital in the afternoon July 4 for the scheduled operation, which was to be performed by Dr. Sergio Alfieri. Three other surgeons assisted and four physicians administered the anesthetic.

Two other doctors, including the pope’s personal physician, were also present in the surgical suite. No information was given about how long Pope Francis will be in recovery.

Colonic stricture, also called stenosis, is a condition in which part of the large intestine becomes narrower than usual. It can become dangerous if it is too narrow to let food safely pass through. Diverticulitis, a common condition that involves the formation of small bulges or sacs on the wall of the colon, can cause the stricture.

Recovery from diverticulitis surgery typically includes a hospital stay of up to a week and at least another two weeks of limited activity.

Pope Francis last underwent an operation in 2019, for cataracts.

Early this year, the 84-year-old pontiff was forced to miss several public events due to a recurrence of the sciatic pain that struck him at the end of 2020.

Francis has suffered from the painful condition for a number of years.

Generally healthy, at the beginning of 2020, the pope canceled some of his public audiences due to having a cold.

After his personal physician died from the coronavirus in January, Pope Francis appointed internalist Roberto Bernabei as his doctor.

Bernabei is a specialist in aging and director of the School of Specialization in Geriatrics at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome.

Note: This story was updated at 4:03 p.m. on July 4, 2021 with the Vatican statement issued after the pope's surgery.