Pope Francis is recovering well from a hernia operation and routine post-surgery examinations showed good results, Holy See spokesman Matteo Bruni announced on Thursday.

The head of the Catholic Church underwent three hours of open abdominal surgery under general anaesthetic at Rome’s Gemelli Hospital on Wednesday.

The operation was necessary to repair a type of hernia known as a laparocele.
The pope is also being informed about all the well-wishers, Bruni added.

The pontiff thanked them, but asked for further prayers for him and his health.

He also spoke briefly on the phone with a woman whose infant son he had baptised at the end of March during a previous stay at the same hospital for pneumonia.

A later update said the 86-year-old was stable and was receiving liquid food.

The lead medic, Sergio Alfieri, told journalists on Wednesday that Francis was “awake, alert and was joking again” after the procedure.

The doctor said that the pope had tolerated the two anaesthetics well, amid concerns that there could be difficulties after Francis had problems with anaesthesia almost two years ago.

The pontiff must now stay in hospital for five to seven days.

As a precautionary measure, all planned audiences in the Vatican have been cancelled until June 18.

A major event for peace planned for Saturday in St Peter’s Square will still take place, but without the pope.

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The traditional Angelus prayer is also scheduled for Sunday.

In theory, the Argentinian could also say the prayer in hospital, as he did in 2021 from the balcony of the Gemelli hospital after an intestinal operation.

Francis’ agenda includes two foreign trips in August, which he is expected to make.

He is set to attend World Youth Day in Lisbon, Portugal early in the month and then is due to head to Mongolia for five days at the end of August. (dpa/NAN)