– Catholic Herald, Rome – Pope Francis is suffering a painful attack of sciatica and will not preside either at the evening Te Deum in St Peter’s Basilica or at Mass of New Year’s Day. The daily bulletin from the Press Office of the Holy See carried the news in a statement from Press Office Director Matteo Bruni.
“Due to a painful sciatica,” Bruni said in the statement, “the celebrations this evening [31 Dec 2020] and tomorrow morning [1 Jan 2021] at the Altar of the Chair of the Vatican Basilica will not be presided over by the Holy Father Francis.”
Bruni’s statement explained that the Dean of the College of Cardinals, His Eminence Giovanni Battista Re, will preside at First Vespers and Te Deum, while the Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, will say Mass of New Year’s Day.
“January 1, 2021,” Bruni’s statement went on to specify, “Pope Francis will in any case lead the recitation of the Angelus from
Apostolic Palace Library, as expected.”
In 2013, Pope Francis revealed that he has long suffered the painful ailment, which frequently is caused by pressure on a nerve resulting from a herniated disc. Answering journalists’ questions en route to Rome from Rio – where he had gone to mark World Youth Day – Pope Francis said he had an attack of sciatica “because I was sitting in an armchair to do interviews and it hurt.”
“Sciatica is very painful,” he went on to say. “I don’t wish it on anyone.”
He has reportedly received treatments including massage therapy and injections to ease his discomfort.