Pope Francis to Undergo Colon Surgery

ROME — The Vatican announced on Sunday that Pope Francis had been admitted to a hospital in Rome for colon surgery.

Matteo Bruni, a Vatican spokesman, said in a statement that Francis, 84, had been taken to the Gemelli hospital in the Italian capital. Mr. Bruni said the “scheduled surgery” would take place later on Sunday, and noted that a medical bulletin would be issued afterward. He said that the pope had “symptomatic diverticular stenosis of the colon.”

The surgery would be performed by Dr. Sergio Alfieri, who heads the hospital’s complex operational unit for digestive surgery, the Vatican said.

It is the first time that Francis has been admitted to a hospital since becoming pope in 2013. Unlike his predecessors, he has never left the Vatican for the cooler papal residence in Castel Gandolfo, near Rome, during the summer. He normally slows down his schedule in July.

Two days ago, Mr. Bruni announced that the weekly general audiences held on Wednesdays would be suspended for the month of July, and begin again on Aug. 4. He added that the Sunday Angelus prayer and blessing would continue throughout the summer.

In general, the pope’s health has not raised concerns. More than 60 years ago, he had an upper lobe of his lung removed as a result of complications from tuberculosis. At times, his breathing has seemed labored during speeches.

He also has sciatica, a condition that causes leg and back pain, and has missed engagements in the past. This past year, he missed New Year’s Eve and Day services because of a flare-up. Last year, he missed a Lenten retreat with senior aides because of a bad cold.

Ansa, the Italian news agency, reported that the pope arrived at Gemelli hospital shortly after 3 p.m. He was accompanied by a driver and a “close collaborator,” Ansa reported. Francis was admitted to a suite of rooms on the 10th floor in one of the wings of the hospital, the same rooms that had been occupied by Pope John Paul II during his hospital stays. John Paul was there so often as a patient that he often jokingly referred to the hospital as the “third Vatican.”

Earlier Sunday, Francis looked serene while addressing people gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the weekly Angelus prayer and blessing. Announcing that he would be visiting Slovakia in September, he smiled happily when cheers went up from the crowd.

Pope Francis to Undergo Colon Surgery