Fears about the health of Pope Francis are growing after he was forced to cancel appearances at three upcoming events.

The 84-year-old will not hold Sunday Mass or evening prayers in the Basilica of St. Paul. A conference with the diplomatic corps at the Holy See on Monday will also be rescheduled. Vatican spokesperson Matteo Bruni said the cancelation of the activities was “due to a recurrence of sciatica”

In a statement he said: “Because of the return of sciatica, the celebration of the Mass tomorrow morning (Jan 24) will not be presided over by the Holy Father, but by Archbishop Rino Fisichella.”

These three events will not see the pope’s participation “due to a recurrence of sciatica,” Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said on Saturday evening.

Sciatica, a form of pain caused by something pressing the sciatic nerve, can affect a person’s lower back, through to their legs. It is often caused by a slipped disc in the spine.

Mr. Bruni, however, confirmed that the Angelus blessing would still be performed by Pope Francis at noon on Sunday, suggesting that his condition is not too serious this time round.

For many decades, Pope Francis has been suffering from sciatica, a painful nerve condition.

As a consequence of the compression of nerve roots running from the lower spine down the thigh, Sciatica can cause severe pain in the lower body.

It is often caused by a slipped disc in the spine. The Pope was left paralyzed for several days by the condition in 2007. His sciatica is also the reason why he has an uneven walking gait.

He has tried to alleviate the side effects of the sciatica through massage treatments and through the services of a physiotherapist.

Francis ‘sciatica’s latest flareup raises questions about his planned trip to Iraq on March 3-8.

Some had already questioned the visit because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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