Featured Image
Pope Francis during his November 26 Angelus, with the IV connection showing Video screenshot

VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) –– Pope Francis will not attend the United Nations COP28 climate change conference in Dubai this weekend. His doctors have instructed him not to make the trip.

In a statement issued Tuesday evening, the director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, stated:

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 his planned trip to Dubai in the coming days for the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Pope Francis accepted the doctors’ request with great regret and the trip is therefore canceled.

As 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.

Pope Francis has been suffering from ill health in recent days, cancelling his audiences on Saturday and then making a hospital visit during the afternoon for a CT scan to rule out “pulmonary complications.”

Francis then made the rare move of not leading the Sunday Angelus from the customary window in the Apostolic Palace overlooking St. Peter’s Square. Instead, he stayed inside the Casa Santa Marta hotel where he resides, and the Angelus was live-streamed. An aide from the Secretariat of State read the Pope’s regular address.

During Sunday’s Angelus Pope Francis stated that he had “inflammation of the lungs.” An IV drip was then visible on the Pope’s hand; it was no longer present by Monday morning. 

Francis kept a lighter schedule and cancelled some public audiences on Monday. The Holy See Press Office cited “a mild flu-like condition,” adding that the Pope was “clearly improving.” 

Throughout the weekend and into Tuesday afternoon, the Vatican and Pope Francis were consistent in the message that Francis would still attend the Conference of Parties (COP) 28 climate conference in Dubai, from December 1 through 3, as scheduled. 

Press Office director Bruni even led a press conference on Tuesday afternoon providing details of the papal trip, and expansive logistical information about the voyage was provided to journalists at the same time. Only six hours later the Pope was announced to be not making the trip. 

Disturbed year for Pontiff’s health

The cancellation of the Pope’s trip to Dubai is just the latest of a series of health issues Francis has experienced this year.

He had two lengthy hospitalizations: first in March and then in June. In late March he was hospitalized suddenly. The Press Office stated the visit was for “previously scheduled checkups,” but this was swiftly debunked by Italian media reports that Francis had to cancel a scheduled interview and his appointments after the Wednesday audience and be rushed to the hospital in an ambulance.

READ: Vatican lying? Pope reportedly ‘arrived unconscious’ at hospital 2 weeks ago

According to the news reports, which cited sources in the hospital, Francis was suffering from “heart problems” along with breathing issues when he arrived.

The Pope subsequently told a friend that he even “arrived unconscious” at the hospital in March. He later contradicted this when speaking on the issue some weeks later.

The entire incident was dominated by a series of conflicting and contradictory reports from the Vatican downplaying the Pope’s condition and Italian media citing sources which revealed the situation to be much more serious than officially admitted to by the Holy See.

June’s visit saw him admitted for “incarcerated incisional hernia,” which the Holy See Press Office described as necessary but not an emergency.

Francis long ago 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.

Pope at COP28 

The annual series of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, or Conference of Parties (COP),  is held in a different country each time, and has been held since 1992. Since the 2015 event in Paris and the emergence of the Paris Climate Agreement, the events have been focussed on meeting the restrictive targets imposed by that document.

READ: Pope Francis confirms he will attend UN’s COP28 ‘climate change’ conference in Dubai

Francis’ participation at the United Nations’ event in Dubai was to be an historic occasion – the first of a Pope at a COP conference.  He had been due to attend the COP26 conference in Glasgow in 2021 but subsequently decided to remain in Rome and send Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Cardinal Parolin in his stead.

The event is aimed at implementing the restrictive goals of the pro-abortion 2015 Paris Agreement.

Francis’ participation was decided upon after he privately met with COP28 president Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber on October 11 at the Vatican. Al Jaber has described the upcoming conference as “a prime opportunity to rethink, reboot, and refocus the climate agenda.”

Francis was also due to inaugurate a “Faith Pavilion” event at the COP28 event, which was organized by the U.N. and Muslim leaders to combine the resources of world religions to promote climate policies.

READ: Pope Francis to lead interfaith event to fight ‘climate change’ at UN COP28 conference

According to the COP28 organizers, the Faith Pavilion is the “first of its kind,” and is a way of the U.N. “demonstrating that religious and spiritual communities are essential to the fight against climate change and to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the goals of the Paris Agreement.”

It was organized not only by the United Nations Environment Program and the Muslim Council of Elders, but also with particular cooperation from the Vatican, as noted by a press release from COP28 president Dr. Sultan Al Jaber following his October private meeting with Pope Francis.

In further details outlined in a press release, the U.N. noted that the religious bodies involved in the Faith Pavilion will be encouraged to exert their influence over their respective members to promote the “climate change” talking points. “Identify priority negotiation topics where FBOs [faith based organizations] can most effectively use their knowledge and experience to impact negotiation outcomes and make an ethical and spiritual case for climate justice.”