[Fox News] Pope Francis hospitalized briefly after dealing with flu symptoms

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Pope Francis was briefly hospitalized in Rome on Wednesday after suffering from flu symptoms for a number of days.

The Vatican has yet to clarify the nature of the short visit. The pope had canceled appearances on both Saturday and Monday due to his flu symptoms, but he did make the traditional Sunday blessing.

Francis, 86, could also be heard coughing repeatedly during Ash Wednesday services earlier this month.

The pope has had a number of health issues in recent years, including having a piece of his colon removed in 2021 due to intestinal inflamaton. He has been regularly using a cane and a wheelchair for nearly a year.

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Francis came down with another respiratory illness late last year, saying in November that he had ben diagnosed with “acute infectious bronchitis.” He was placed on antibiotics to fight off the infection.

This week’s hospitalization comes roughly two months after Francis approved Catholic priests to offer blessings to same-sex couples. The Vatican clarified that such blessings were not an approval of same-sex marriage, however.

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The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) published guidance for U.S. Catholics in mid-December after the release of the new policy, dubbed “Fiducia supplicans.”

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“The Declaration issued today by the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF) articulated a distinction between liturgical (sacramental) blessings, and pastoral blessings, which may be given to persons who desire God’s loving grace in their lives,” the USCCB wrote.

“The Church’s teaching on marriage has not changed, and this declaration affirms that, while also making an effort to accompany people through the imparting of pastoral blessings because each of us needs God’s healing love and mercy in our lives,” the bishops continued.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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