Pope in good condition after surgery: Vatican

Pope Francis is alert, breathing without assistance and in a good overall condition after his intestinal surgery, the Vatican said on Monday (July 5).

The pontiff's hospitalization was a surprise for the world - but it was his decision to keep the news private, says Vatican analyst and Reuters journalist Phil Pullella.

The 84-year-old was admitted to Rome's Agostino Gemelli hospital on Sunday (July 4) for the first time since his election in 2013 to undergo surgery on his colon.

"It was a surprise because just a few hours before the Vatican announced that the Pope had gone into the hospital, he said his Sunday blessing and his Sunday address right here to thousands of people in St. Peter's square and he looked completely normal and as a matter of fact he looked quite healthy and he actually joked. So it was a surprise when it was announced."

Spokesman Matteo Bruni said in a statement that the pontiff "responded well" to the surgery which the Vatican had said earlier had been scheduled and not prompted by an emergency.

"Well, some people will say that the Pope is a private person and he doesn't have to release medical details and that is, to a certain extent, true because he's not the President of the United States and the world doesn't need to know the details of his health because of he has no military or political power in that sense that could, you know, that the world needs to know about. On the other hand, he is the leader of more than 1.3 billion Roman Catholics who would like to know how his health is. But I think that the Pope is very different than his predecessors and he cherishes his privacy.''

The Pope is expected to stay in hospital for seven days, barring any complications.

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