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Pope blames cold for skipping retreat

Pope blames cold for skipping retreat
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Pope FrancisPope FrancisThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Goldman Sachs - Iran, Russia election bombshell; final Prez debate tonight The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by the Walton Family Foundation — Pope Francis expresses support for same-sex unions Pope Francis calls for creation of civil union laws for same-sex couples MORE reportedly said he will not be attending a spiritual retreat in the Roman countryside because he has a cold. 

Francis, 83, made the announcement Sunday while speaking to pilgrims from a window above St. Peter’s Square, according to The Associated Press

He reportedly paused twice to cough Sunday while speaking and asked for prayers for the spiritual retreat, adding “unfortunately a cold prevents me from participating this year. I will be following the meditation from here.”

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It was his first public appearance since Ash Wednesday when he was reportedly seen coughing and blowing his nose during mass. 

As the coronavirus spreads across Italy, Vatican spokesman dismissed concerns that the pope was anything more than slightly unwell, according to Reuters, 

“There is no evidence that would lead to diagnosing anything but a mild indisposition,” Bruni said Friday, according to Reuters

More than 1,100 cases of coronavirus infection have been confirmed in Italy, the European country hardest-hit by the outbreak.