Pope Francis expected to be released from the hospital Saturday

The pontiff's treatment for a lung infection has "proceeded well," the Vatican said Friday morning.
Pope Francis.
Posted at 9:40 AM, Mar 31, 2023

The Vatican says Pope Francis is expected to be released Saturday from a Rome hospital where he's spent the last few days being treated for a lung infection.

"Yesterday went well, with a normal clinical course," Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said in a statement Friday morning. "In the evening, Pope Francis had dinner, eating pizza, together with all those who are assisting him in these days of the hospital stay."

The pontiff was accompanied by doctors, nurses, assistants and staff, the Vatican stated.

While Francis is expected to return home Saturday, it's unclear if he will preside over ceremonies for Holy Week and Easter, which begin with this weekend's Palm Sunday Mass.

Pope Francis arrives for an audience with members of Roman Universities and Pontifical Institutions

What is the future of the papacy?

Francis didn’t replace a pope who had died. He succeeded Pope Benedict XVI, a conservative, who was the first pontiff to retire in 600 years.


Francis, 86, was hospitalized Wednesday.

According to the Vatican, he had been experiencing breathing issues, and tests showed a respiratory infection that doctors determined to be infectious bronchitis.

Following antibiotic infusion therapy, the pope's health was "progressively improving," Bruni said.

Early Friday morning, Francis tweeted a message for Lent: "When experienced with faith, the trials and difficulties of life serve to purify our hearts, making them humbler and thus more and more open to God."