Pope Francis Has Bronchitis but is Resting and Improving, Vatican Says

Pope Francis speaks at his general audience in St. Peter's Square on March 29, 2023. | Credit: Vatican Media

Pope Francis is exhibiting “marked improvement” after being admitted to the hospital on Wednesday with difficulty breathing, which was later diagnosed as bronchitis. 

“Pope Francis spent the afternoon at [Gemelli Hospital] devoting himself to rest, prayer, and some work duties,” Holy See Press Office Director Matteo Bruni told reporters Thursday evening. 

“As part of scheduled clinical checks, the Holy Father was found to have a bronchitis infection that required the administration of antibiotic therapy through infusion, which produced the expected effects with a marked improvement in his state of health. Based on the expected course, the Holy Father could be discharged in the coming days.”

This update comes after Bruni said mid-Thursday that the pope “rested well overnight” and that “the clinical picture is progressively improving.” 

“This morning after having breakfast, [Pope Francis] read some newspapers and resumed work,” Bruni added. “Before lunch, he went to the chapel of his private apartment, where he spent time in prayer and received the Eucharist.”


Bruni had issued a brief statement earlier in the afternoon of March 29 to say the pope was at Gemelli Hospital “for some previously scheduled checkups.” Later that day, he said the 86-year-old pope would remain hospitalized for “some days” after being diagnosed with a respiratory infection. 

Gemelli is the same hospital where Pope Francis was hospitalized in July 2021 when he underwent surgery on his colon for diverticulitis, or inflammation of the intestinal wall.

In an interview with the Associated Press in January, Pope Francis disclosed that the diverticulitis had “returned.” At the time, the 86-year-old pontiff — who traveled to South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo in late January — insisted he was in relatively good condition.

Jonah McKeown is a staff writer and assistant podcast producer for Catholic News Agency. He holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and in the past has worked as a writer, as a producer for public radio, and as a videographer.