Pope Francis has apologised for remaining seated during an audience on Friday, blaming the cancellation of a number of his recent public duties on a “troublesome guest” – sciatica, the pontiff said, addressing members of the Roman Rota, a top Catholic Church tribunal.
The Argentine head of the Catholic Church had to skip and delegate at least two recent masses, on Sunday and Monday, as well as postpone his New Year’s greeting for ambassadors to the Holy See after missing New Year's masses at St Peter's Basilica due to the painful nerve condition.
He is understood to have been suffering from occasional bouts of sciatica for several years. In 2013, he shared with journalists that weeks after being elected head of the Roman Catholic Church, he suffered an acute condition.
“The worst thing that happened - excuse me - was an attack of sciatica - really! - that I had the first month, because I was sitting in an armchair to do interviews and it hurt”, Pope Francis relayed at the time.
Amid concerns over how the 84-year-old pontiff is faring at the height of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, news came along earlier this month that he had been vaccinated against COVID-19, alongside his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.