Pope Francis, due to turn 87 next month, has been advised by his doctors to cancel his anticipated trip to Dubai for the COP28 climate talks due to recent flu-like symptoms and inflammation of the respiratory tract. This news was announced by the Vatican spokesperson, Matteo Bruni, who expressed great regret. Despite an overall improvement in the Pope's clinical picture, doctors recommended against the trip considering his health conditions.
First Pontiff to Attend UN Climate Event
Notwithstanding his absence at the conference commencing this Thursday, Pope Francis, a distinguished environmental advocate, had intended to be the first pontiff to attend the UN event since its inception in 1995. The Pope has been a prominent voice in emphasizing the link between climate change and poverty and was expected to challenge nations on their climate actions and advocate for drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions at COP28.
Health Concerns Impacting Papal Duties
In recent years, Pope Francis has experienced several health issues, including knee and hip pain, colon inflammation, and hernia surgery. These health concerns have occasionally disrupted his duties. Most recently, due to light flu symptoms, he had to cancel events and recite Sunday's Angelus prayer from his residence. However, he is still expected to lead his weekly audience as planned.
Religion and Climate Change
Aside from his climate advocacy, Pope Francis was also slated to inaugurate the first-ever faith pavilion at the conference, underscoring the increasing role of religion in climate issues. His health woes have previously postponed his trips to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan due to knee pain, but he managed to fulfill those visits earlier this year. Despite his health, the Pope's fervor for environmental issues remains undeterred.