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Pope Francis ‘doing better’ but misses St Peter’s Square window appearance again

Pope Francis has missed his popular window appearance in St Peter’s Square for a second Sunday (Andrew Medichini/AP)
Pope Francis has missed his popular window appearance in St Peter’s Square for a second Sunday (Andrew Medichini/AP)

Ailing Pope Francis has missed his popular window appearance in St Peter’s Square for a second Sunday, but in televised remarks said he is doing better even though his voice would not let him read all his comments aloud.

As he did a week earlier, Francis delivered very brief remarks from the chapel of the Vatican hotel where he lives and where he is recovering from what he has said is infectious bronchitis.

Thousands of people in the square followed his words from giant screens set up outdoors.

Vatican Pope
Thousands of people followed the Pope’s words from giant screens set up in St Peter’s Square (Andrew Medichini/AP)

The Pope, who turns 87 later this month, also said he is following the UN climate conference in Dubai from a distance. He had been due to go to Cop28 on Friday to address the gathering.

During his first chapel appearance on November 26, he insisted he would make the trip despite his illness, but later cancelled it on doctors’ orders and stayed at the Vatican, where he has received antibiotics intravenously.

He said on Sunday: “Dear brothers and sisters, good day. Also today, I won’t be able to read everything. I’m getting better, but the voice still isn’t.”

He then passed the microphone to a priest, who read prepared remarks, including about the end of the ceasefire in the Israeli-Hamas war.

“It’s painful that the truce has been broken,” Francis said in the remarks. ”That means death, destruction and misery.”

Vatican Pope
The Pope said he is following the Cop28 climate conference in Dubai from a distance (Andrew Medichini/AP)

He called for the release of the remaining hostages who were seized from Israel in Hamas’s October 7 attack, and lamented the lack of basic necessities of life in Gaza.

On Thursday, Francis told an audience of healthcare workers that he was advised against making the December 1-3 trip to the United Arab Emirates because “it’s very hot there, and you go from heat to air conditioning”.

Of his current illness, he told them: “Thank God it wasn’t pneumonia. It’s a very acute, infectious bronchitis.”

Previously the Vatican had said the Pope was suffering from a lung inflammation and flu.

He had a previous case of acute bronchitis in the spring, when he was admitted to hospital for three days so he could receive intravenous antibiotics.

Vatican Pope
Pope Francis said it is ‘painful’ that the ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war has been broken (Andrew Medichini/AP)

Francis said that “even from a distance, I am following with great attention the work of Cop28 in Dubai. I am close” to the conference.

He said he is renewing his appeal so that “climate change is answered by concrete political change”.

In his remarks about climate change on Sunday, Francis urged the end of what he called “bottlenecks” caused by nationalism, and “patterns of the past”.

He added: “Let’s embrace a common vision, committing all of us and now, without delay, to a necessary global ecological conversion.”