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Pope Francis during his weekly audience, April 12, 2023.Screenshot/YouTube

VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) — Concerning his recent stay in hospital, Pope Francis reportedly stated he arrived unconscious, thus raising questions about the truth of an incident that the Vatican’s Press Office has consistently tried to whitewash.

The Pope’s comments were revealed by Italian media April 11 and were reportedly made by him to a personal confidant. According to Michele Ferri, who spoke with Francis on the phone on Easter Sunday as he regularly does, the Pope stated that he arrived unconscious to hospital, and that a few hours would have made the difference between life and death. 

The Pope in hospital: what happened?

Francis was taken to Rome’s Gemelli hospital Wednesday March 29, with the Holy See Press Office stating on the day that the Pope was there for “previously scheduled checkups.” But the Italian media swiftly debunked the official narrative, with Francis having to cancel a scheduled interview and his appointments after the Wednesday audience and be rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. According to the news reports, which cited sources in the hospital, Francis was suffering from “heart problems” along with breathing issues when he arrived.

An evening statement from the Vatican on the same day then declared that the Pope had for some days “complained of some breathing difficulties,” and that medics had discovered a “respiratory infection (excluding Covid 19 infection) that will require a few days of appropriate hospital medical therapy.”

Such a diagnosis was in apparent contrast with the Pope’s physical condition only hours earlier at his weekly audience, where he was animated and not presenting signs of such a reported condition. 

With the official statements downplaying the seriousness of the Pontiff’s condition, Francis was subsequently released from hospital on April 1. As he was released, the 86-year-old quipped that he was “still alive.” 

READ: Pope Francis ‘improving’ from ‘respiratory infection,’ Vatican says

Prior to his Saturday release, on Friday afternoon Francis had visited the children’s oncology ward, where he blessed the patients and baptized a baby — all of which would not align with his diagnosis of having a respiratory infection.

Phone call reveals seriousness of condition

With observers still confused as to the true nature of Pope Francis’ health condition, and with the Holy See Press Office’s statements appearing to be blatantly misleading, Francis then took part in the Holy Week and Easter ceremonies mostly as scheduled. He did, though, pull out of attending the Good Friday stations of the Cross at the Coliseum, citing the “intense cold” of recent days.

However, on Easter Sunday Francis performed a regular task: calling Michele Ferri, the brother of Andrea Ferri, who was murdered in June 2013. Francis has since befriended and called Michele 90 times, including on feasts such as Easter.

Speaking to Il Resto del Carlino Michele reported the contents of his Easter Sunday call with the Pope. “I’m still alive, he told me,” said Michele.

“That’s how he began, and I heard a fit, ringing and serene voice this time, better than last time, then he had seemed a bit fatigued,” added Michele.

Michele stated that Francis confided over the phone that he had “arrived unconscious” at the Gemelli, after having been suffering from an illness for twelve days. The Pope reportedly said: “Just a few more hours and I don’t know if I was telling the story.”

Francis reportedly added that “I saw it really bad.”

READ: EXCLUSIVE: Vatican dicastery denies involvement with rumored document crushing traditional seminaries

While still a teenager, Francis had a lung removed due to an infection. Then in 2021, the pontiff previously underwent a six-hour colon surgery at the Gemelli to have part of his colon removed due to diverticulitis. He subsequently spent 10 days there in recovery. 

Around the time of the surgery, and following it, rumors grew that he was suffering from cancer and nearing the end of his pontificate. Such rumors were aided by his long-standing use of a wheelchair and increased knee problems. Francis subsequently denied the suggestion that he had cancer.

This fresh report now sheds further light on the sudden and still confusing admittance of Francis into hospital two weeks ago. The subject of a Pope’s health being shrouded in secrecy, particularly as a pontiff advances in age, is nothing unusual. 

But the Vatican’s statements with regards to Francis’ recent hospital admission denote a marked contrast with the truth, and a determination to continue in the promotion of an alternative reality. 

Pope Francis’ pontificate has been marked by demonstrations of power, as evidenced by the remarkably high number of motu proprios which he has issued on a variety of topics: in just 10 years he has issued 61 of these documents, far more than John Paul II’s 31 in 27 years. 

For a Pontiff such as Francis, ensuring that no one knows the truth about his declining health will be vital if he is to hold onto power within the Vatican.

LifeSiteNews contacted the Holy See Press Office for comment on the reported papal comments but did not receive a response by time of publication.