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Vatican rules out Pope contamination after spiritual retreat canceled due to “cold”

“There is no evidence that leads us to diagnose anything other than a slight indisposition,” Vatican spokesman said on Sunday.

Worry in the Vatican. On Sunday March 1, Pope Francis announced that he would not participate in a traditional six-day spiritual retreat with the Vatican government in Ariccia, south of Rome. The reason ? A cold. “There is no evidence that leads us to diagnose anything other than a slight indisposition”, said the Vatican spokesperson, in response to questions from some media in full new coronavirus epidemic.

“Unfortunately, a cold forces me not to participate this year” at this Lenten retreat, declared the pope at the end of the Angelus prayer, delivered in St. Peter's Square from the window of the apostolic palace. Addressing the faithful, the 83-year-old pontiff had to stop twice because of coughing fits.

The Pope was to, from this Sunday, accompany to Ariccia for six days “spiritual exercises” members of the Roman Curia leading Vatican “ministries”. The pope was to celebrate a daily mass in a chapel there, before listening to the teachings of a Jesuit preacher alongside the members of the Curia. Pope Francis had already lightened his program since Thursday, officially due to a “slight indisposition”.

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