Pope Francis holds first audience since undergoing bowel surgery

Pope Francis holds first audience since undergoing bowel surgery
Pope Francis holds first audience since undergoing bowel surgery

Pope Francis today held his first weekly audience since undergoing bowel surgery a month ago.

The 84-year-old pontiff walked unaided to the centre of the stage to address the Paul VI Hall, offering his prayers and condolences to Lebanon on the anniversary of the Beirut port blast.

After an almost hour-long sermon, Francis descended the stairs and greeted the faithful, shaking their hands, posing for selfies and blessing small children without a mask on.

It was his first audience since being admitted to hospital in Rome on July 4 for an operation to remove a section of his colon. The Vatican said the surgery was necessitated by diverticular stenosis, or a narrowing of the bowel. 

Pope Francis poses for a selfie as he holds his first general audience in the Paul VI Hall since undergoing bowel surgery last month

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Pope Francis poses for a selfie as he holds his first general audience in the Paul VI Hall since undergoing bowel surgery last month

The pontiff prompted some smiles from the audience as he fidgeted with his cap

The pontiff prompted some smiles from the audience as he fidgeted with his cap

Francis reaches out to give his blessings to small children held aloft by their parents

Francis reaches out to give his blessings to small children held aloft by their parents 

The Pope holds the arm of an aide as he attends the general audience at the Paul VI Hall on Wednesday

The Pope walks with his aides as he descends the stairs

The Pope holds the arm of an aide as he attends the general audience at the Paul VI Hall on Wednesday

As he arrived at the Nervi Hall on Wednesday he smiled and gestured towards the visitors before taking his seat in an upholstered chair and addressing several hundred pilgrims and tourists, who wore masks as part of the Vatican's anti-pandemic measures for crowd situations.  

After removing his face mask to protect against COVID-19, Francis walked unaided to the center of the stage of a Vatican auditorium. 

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Near the end of his sermon, Francis spoke of the Beirut explosion, recalling the 'victims, their families, the injured, and all those who lost homes and work' in the blast.

Lebanon's people, he said, were still 'tired and disappointed' in the aftermath, a reference

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