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Pope Francis cancels trip to COP 28 conference on doctor’s orders

Jasenka Arbanas/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — Pope Francis has canceled a trip to a climate conference in Dubai on doctor’s orders, according to the Holy See Press Office.

“Although the Holy Father’s general clinical picture has improved with regard to his flu-like condition and inflammation of the respiratory tract, doctors have asked the Pope not to make the trip planned for the coming days to Dubai for the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change,” Matteo Bruni, the director of the Holy See Press Office, said in a statement.

The pope’s scheduled to hold his weekly public audience Wednesday morning and has a few other appointments set for this week that have not been canceled.

“Pope Francis accepted the doctors’ request with great regret and the trip is therefore cancelled,” the statement continued. “While the willingness of the Pope and the Holy See to be part of the discussions taking place in the coming days remains, the modalities by which this can be made concrete will be defined as soon as possible.”

He had been scheduled to leave Friday, give an address on Saturday and then return to Rome on Sunday afternoon.

On Nov. 25, the Vatican said Francis had gone to the hospital for a “checkup” after coming down with the flu.

On Monday, Bruni said the pope had receive a CT scan, which ruled out pneumonia, but showed lung inflammation “causing breathing difficulties.”

Francis, 86, met with Spanish bishops on Tuesday morning and Italian news agency ANSA reported he met with the Pontifical commission for the care of minors and with a group of French victims of clerical abuse at his Santa Marta residence.

Bruni had said earlier Tuesday that Francis was doing “quite well” and outlined the plan for the COP 28 visit. He said the pope had been scheduled for 30 “brief” meetings with heads of state and government officials.

He was also supposed to deliver a speech in Spanish at the conference and one at the inauguration of the Faith Pavilion, according to Bruni.

It was scheduled to be the pope’s 45th foreign visit.

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