Pope Francis Hospitalized With Bronchitis Infection

    Photo: SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images [via Fox News]

    The Facts

    • The Vatican said on Thursday that Pope Francis' health is improving, after he was taken to Rome's Gemelli Hospital on Wednesday following his weekly General Audience in St. Peter's Square with complaints of breathing difficulties.

    • The pope had been diagnosed with infectious bronchitis, a highly contagious respiratory disease requiring treatment of an intravenous infusion of antibiotics.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    Given the precedent of papal retirement established by Benedict XVI — who faced his own health problems — it is feasible that Pope Francis could step down from his role due to these ongoing challenges. Though the Holy Father has so far denied any intention to follow the path of his predecessor, he has alluded to the fact that he's signed a letter which could trigger his medical resignation.

    Narrative B

    Pope Francis's physical health has undoubtedly suffered with age, but he has demonstrated that he remains mentally fit to lead the Catholic Church. Under his moral guidance, the Holy See has pushed for greater liturgical uniformity and better representation among its high-ranked officials, all while fighting corruption. This mission of reform is not something Pope Francis should ever voluntary step away from.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 50% chance that the Catholic Church will elect a new Pope by February 2025, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Articles on this story

    Sign up to our daily newsletter