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Pope-ration Pope Francis to undergo intestinal surgery in hospital in Rome

The announcement was made after Francis had greeted the public in St Peter’s Square.

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Pope Francis waves to the crowd as he arrives to recite the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St.Peter’s Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, July 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Pope Francis waves to the crowd as he arrives to recite the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St.Peter’s Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, July 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Pope Francis waves to the crowd as he arrives to recite the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St.Peter’s Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, July 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Pope Francis has gone to hospital for scheduled surgery on a restriction of the large intestine.

A brief announcement from the Vatican on Sunday afternoon did not say when the stenosis surgery would be performed but said there would be announcement when the surgery is complete.

Three hours earlier, Francis had cheerfully greeted the public in St Peter’s Square in keeping with a Sunday tradition and told them he will go to Hungary and Slovakia in September.

The 84-year-old will have the surgery at Rome’s Gemelli Polyclinic.

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Pope Francis blesses the crowd at the Vatican (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

Pope Francis blesses the crowd at the Vatican (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

Pope Francis blesses the crowd at the Vatican (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

The Vatican said the Pope had been diagnosed with “symptomatic diverticular stenosis of the colon”, a narrowing in the large intestine.

Francis is in generally good health, but did have part of one lung removed as a young man. He also suffers from sciatica, occasionally having painful bouts of the condition that involves a nerve affecting the lower back and leg.

He had a particularly demanding set of appointments last week, including celebrating a Mass on Tuesday to mark the Catholic feast day honouring saints Peter and Paul, and later in the week presiding at a special prayer service for Lebanon.

On June 28, he had a long private audience at the Vatican with US secretary of state Antony Blinken.

Throughout all those engagements, Francis appeared to be in good spirits.

Gemelli doctors have performed surgery before on papal patients, including on John Paul II, who had a benign tumour in his colon removed in 1992.

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