VATICAN CITY — With a soft and raspy voice, Pope Francis began his weekly general audience by making the sign of the cross and explaining that “I’m still not well with this flu, and my voice isn’t great,” so he would have an aide read his catechesis and greetings.
The gathering, in the Vatican’s Paul VI Audience Hall Nov. 29, was held the morning after the Vatican announced that Pope Francis had accepted his doctors’ advice and canceled plans to travel to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Dec. 1-3 to join world leaders in addressing COP28, the U.N. climate conference.
Before the general audience, the pope met briefly with members of the Scottish soccer team Celtic F.C. There, too, he apologized for having an aide read his prepared text. “With this cold,” he said, “I can’t speak much, but I’m better than yesterday.”
The pope’s main general audience talk, part of a yearlong series about evangelization, was read by Msgr. Filippo Ciampanelli, an official of the Vatican Secretariat of State.
But at the end of the audience, the pope took the microphone back to urge people to pray for peace.
“Let’s continue to pray for the serious situation in Israel and Palestine.