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‘What Is A Woman?’ just passed 177 million views on Twitter. Why did it go viral?
Posted on 06/7/2023 21:45 PM (CNA Daily News)
Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jun 7, 2023 / 13:45 pm (CNA).
The one-year-old “What Is a Woman?” documentary has amassed more than 177 million views in less than a week on Twitter. Despite pushback from transgender activists, the documentary has had enormous success since the film was offered on Twitter at the beginning of June. CNA took a look at what the film is about and why it’s amassed so many views recently.
What is the film about?
The documentary, which stars popular culture and political commentator Matt Walsh and is distributed by The Daily Wire, tackles questions related to the transgender movement, specifically delving into the question posed in the title, “What is a woman?”
Walsh interviews a variety of people, including politicians, doctors, a professor, and a therapist, asking them whether they can explain what a woman is. When met with unclear and nonspecific answers, Walsh presses the question further.
At one point, he asks Dr. Patrick Grzanka, a professor of women, gender, and sexuality studies at the University of Tennessee, to explain the differences between sex and gender. When Walsh presses Grzanka about wanting to know the truth and the reality of whether someone is a man or a woman, the professor expresses that he is uncomfortable.
“I’m really uncomfortable with that language of like ‘getting to the truth,’” Grzanka said during the interview. “It sounds actually deeply transphobic to me and if you keep probing, we’re going to stop the interview.”
During the documentary, Walsh also speaks with women who have been forced to compete with biologically male athletes who identify as women. This includes women who placed behind their transgender competitors in both swimming and track and field and believe wins and better finishes were taken from them.
Why is the film going viral?
The film is a year old and was initially released by The Daily Wire to its paid subscribers on June 1, 2022. To celebrate the one-year anniversary, The Daily Wire made the film free on Twitter for a limited time, which began on June 1, 2023.
“What Is A Woman?” has amassed about 177.2 million views on The Daily Wire’s Twitter post since it was released for free. The film has received a lot of publicity and positive feedback from conservatives but a lot of hostility from transgender activists.
Because the film deals with the highly contentious issue of gender identity and gender ideology, it has gained publicity from both sides of the issue.
The documentary has not received many reviews from movie critics, but it received an 83% approval rating from six movie critics listed on Rotten Tomatoes and an 86% approval rating from more than 10,000 users rating the film.
“Our film has been banned from most platforms,” Walsh said in a Tweet. “Mainstream movie critics refused to even review it. It’s been blacklisted and suppressed and yet still reached a massive audience. But how many more could we have reached without the deck stacked completely against us? It’s no use lamenting these things.”
How did it survive content moderation on Twitter?
Twitter initially entered into a deal with The Daily Wire to help broadcast the documentary but ultimately backed out of the deal and began suppressing the film as soon as it was posted on the social media platform.
When the documentary initially aired on Twitter, it was given a content warning, which flagged the video as “hate speech” and limited its visibility based on accusations that it was transphobic.
Walsh and other members of The Daily Wire’s team sparred with Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal on Twitter about the restrictions. They also directly appealed to Twitter owner Elon Musk by tweeting at his account.
Musk ultimately intervened and put a stop to the suppression efforts, which included getting rid of the “hate speech” warning. He then tweeted out the documentary, saying “every parent should watch this.” He pinned the tweet for a brief period.
What have Catholics said about it?
Walsh is a practicing Catholic and the film was well received by some Catholic viewers.
CatholicVote, a Catholic political advocacy group, recommended the film for viewers aged 16 and older and suggested that high school students should discuss it with a trusted adult.
“The question ‘What is Woman?’ is a hook — to catch a bigger fish, as it were,” Erika Ahern of CatholicVote wrote on June 2, 2022.
“Yes, it’s one important question that trans ideologues have refused to tackle,” she continued. “(We hear multiple interviewees replying the Walsh with, ‘Why are you asking that question?’) But there are a number of other questions that could be posed. What is a man? What is gender? What is sex? But the central question is much deeper. Fisherman Walsh tackles it even before he lands his first interview: ‘What is truth?’”
Ann Schneible, a freelance journalist writing a review for National Catholic Register, gave the film a B+. She said it is a good starting point for this issue but would not recommend it as a tool for understanding someone with gender dysphoria.
“While it may not be persuasive to anyone who does not generally agree with Walsh, it may still be a valuable starting point for anyone who wants to delve deeper into an issue that is affecting an increasing number of individuals and families,” Schneible wrote. “From this perspective, I would recommend this film.”
Mary Rice Hasson, the director of the Person and Identity Project at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, tweeted out her support for the film and criticism of the initial restrictions.
“Matt Walsh’s documentary has had a powerful impact, sharing the truth on an incredibly important issue,” Hasson said.
Oli London, a man who formerly identified as a gender-fluid trans woman but has since detransitioned and converted to Catholicism, also tweeted about the film and the previous censorship.
“Despite Twitter censoring [Matt Walsh’s] ‘What is a Woman?’ [The Daily Wire’s] documentary this evening and Elon issuing several tweets adding to the confusion he has now tweeted that the censorship will create ‘The Streisand effect,’” London tweeted. “The Streisand effect is an unintended consequence of attempts to hide, remove, or censor information where it instead leads to increased awareness of that information.”
Sachin Jose, a Catholic journalist and social media influencer, encouraged others to step up and discuss this issue.
“Matt Walsh is one the greatest evangelizers in the West and Catholic Church today,” Jose said on Twitter. “He is able to save the lives of thousands of kids. We need priests, bishops, and laypeople who are not afraid to speak the truth.”
Surgeon: Pope Francis ‘well, awake, alert’ after operation
Posted on 06/7/2023 21:15 PM (CNA Daily News)
Rome Newsroom, Jun 7, 2023 / 13:15 pm (CNA).
Pope Francis is awake after reacting well to both surgery and general anesthetic, an Italian surgeon said Wednesday afternoon.
Pope Francis “is well, awake, alert, and already made his first joke 10 minutes ago,” Dr. Sergio Alfieri said June 7 during a brief press conference at Rome’s Gemelli Hospital, where Pope Francis is recovering following abdominal surgery.
Alfieri, director of the hospital’s abdominal surgery department, is the same surgeon who removed part of Pope Francis’ colon during an operation to treat diverticulitis in July 2021.
The surgeon told journalists that from a medical point of view, there would be nothing preventing the pope from continuing with his planned travels to Portugal and Mongolia in August after his recovery.
The conditions treated by the surgery on June 7 and the prior operation of July 2021 were both benign and have been resolved, the surgeon said in response to questions.
“The pope does not have other illnesses,” he underlined.
Alfieri noted that Francis had been experiencing pain for several months due to an incisional hernia and decided June 6 to undergo the surgery to correct it.
An incisional hernia is a type of abdominal wall hernia at the site of a previous surgical incision. The surgeon said the hernia may have come about following past operations Francis underwent in Argentina, including for peritonitis, a redness or swelling of the lining of the abdomen often caused by appendicitis.
Alfieri said Francis was already cracking jokes and had asked him when the next surgery would be.
In a statement issued late Wednesday, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said “Pope Francis is alert and conscious and thankful for the many messages of closeness and prayer that have immediately reached him.”
Alfieri was assisted by Drs. Valerio Papa, Roberta Menghi, Antonio Tortorelli, and Giuseppe Quero. The anesthetist was Dr. Massimo Antonelli, who was assisted by Drs. Teresa Sacco, Paola Aceto, Maurizio Soave, and Giuseppina Annetta.
The head physician of the Vatican’s health and hygiene office, Dr. Luigi Carbone, was also present in the operating room.
Pope Francis left for the hospital immediately after greeting pilgrims at his Wednesday general audience June 7.
At the start of the audience, he had prayed before a relic of St. Thérèse of Lisieux.
The pope was taken to Gemelli Hospital in a white Fiat 500 with tinted windows with a police escort.
The operation took place in the early afternoon and lasted three hours, the Vatican said.
California honors anti-Catholic drag group ‘Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence’ at state capitol
Posted on 06/7/2023 20:25 PM (CNA Daily News)
Washington D.C., Jun 7, 2023 / 12:25 pm (CNA).
Michael Williams, who goes by the name “Sister Roma” and is a member of the San Francisco chapter of an anti-Catholic drag group known as the “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence,” was honored by the California state Legislature on Monday.
Outside the capitol, hundreds of Catholics and other Christians held a prayer vigil, and several members of the California Republican Caucus walked out of the capitol in protest while Williams was honored.
The prayer vigil outside ends as a group of nuns, priests, monks and ordained pastors lead the crowd in reciting the "Lord's Prayer." A few hundred people showed up to protest the #PrideMonth event inside the Capitol. pic.twitter.com/vWsXLNANMF— Dustin Gardiner (@dustingardiner) June 5, 2023
Inside the capitol, Williams received a standing ovation on the assembly floor, and several lawmakers posed for photos with Williams, who was wearing a black gown, heavy white makeup, and a large purple-blue wig.
After Republicans criticized Sister Roma’s invitation to participate at the Capitol’s pride ceremonies, she gets a standing ovation and loudest applause on the Assembly floor. pic.twitter.com/HUTyAwB117— Ashley Zavala (@ZavalaA) June 5, 2023
California Senate Minority Leader Brian Jones issued a statement calling the decision to honor “Sister Roma” at the capitol a “slap in the face to Catholics who cherish their faith and hold it as a cornerstone of their identity.”
“By inviting a prominent leader of this hateful group, Senate Democrats have shown a blatant disregard for the 10 million Catholic Californians in our state,” Jones said. “Were this group to spread hateful messages about Jews, Muslims, Hindus, or any other religion, Senate Democrats would certainly not extend this invitation.”
A national drag group, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence uses Catholic religious imagery and themes in protests and sexualized performances to raise awareness and money for LGBTQ+ causes. The performers call themselves nuns and regularly use the images of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and women religious.
A member of the drag group since 1987, Williams is an activist, pornography filmmaker, and one of the most well-known Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
Williams was honored along with other prominent LGBTQ+ figures and was invited by state Sen. Scott Wiener, who is also a well-known LGBTQ+ activist.
Before Williams was honored, the California Senate Republican Caucus sent a letter to the Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins requesting she retract the invitation to “Sister Roma.” Atkins refused, calling the request a “misguided distraction on the first day of Pride month.”
The California Legislature’s decision to honor the drag queen activist comes amid controversy over the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence being honored by the Los Angeles Dodgers at a Major League Baseball game on June 16. The team’s decision to honor the group has been decried by prominent Catholics and Christians, including Dodgers pitcher Blake Treinen, who said it “disenfranchises a large community and promotes hate of Christians and people of faith.”
Vatican: Pope Francis out of surgery, recovering in hospital
Posted on 06/7/2023 18:50 PM (CNA Daily News)
Rome Newsroom, Jun 7, 2023 / 10:50 am (CNA).
The Vatican said Wednesday evening that Pope Francis is out of surgery and that the abdominal operation he underwent “took place without complications.”
The 86-year-old pope will remain in Rome’s Gemelli Hospital for several days to recover after the surgery, according to the Vatican’s spokesman.
In a surgery lasting three hours, Pope Francis underwent a laparotomy and abdominal wall reconstruction using prosthetic materials in the early afternoon of June 7.
The operation under general anesthesia was planned by the pope’s medical team in recent days after it became necessary due to a hernia that was causing recurrent, painful, and worsening symptoms, according to Matteo Bruni, the director of the Holy See Press Office.
The surgery attempted to repair an incisional hernia, a type of abdominal wall hernia at the site of a previous surgical incision. In the pope’s case, this could be the result of the scarring caused by the pope’s colon surgery in July 2021.
The Italian newspaper Il Messaggero reported that the surgeon in charge of the pope’s operation was Sergio Alfieri, the same surgeon who operated on Pope Francis in July 2021 when the pope had part of his colon removed due to diverticulitis.
Pope Francis left for the hospital immediately after greeting pilgrims at his Wednesday general audience, where the pope prayed before a relic of St. Thérèse of Lisieux.
The pope was taken to Gemelli Hospital in a white Fiat 500 with tinted windows with a police escort.
Once news of the pope’s surgery broke, people began to gather in front of the hospital where he was being treated.
“We follow him with our affection. We follow him with our prayers, hoping that everything will be resolved as soon as possible and he will return to the exercise of his ministry,” Cardinal Pietro Parolin told journalists when asked about the pope’s health.
The cardinal added that he expects that Pope Francis will continue to work from his hospital bed as he recovers.
“Even if from a hospital bed, he will resume the exercise of his ministry. So if there are things that need to be decided, urgently, they will be brought to him at the Gemelli hospital,” Parolin said, according to Sky News.
Pope Francis has been hospitalized three times in the past two years. The pope was hospitalized for four days in March for a lung infection and has also dealt this year with a recurrence of diverticulitis, a painful inflammation of bulges in the large intestine following his operation in July 2021.
Since early 2022 the pope has suffered from knee pain. He started to have difficulty standing and walking and has been using a cane and wheelchair for more than a year.
Pope Francis told the Italian bishops in May last year that he did not want to have his knee operated on because he did not want to recover from general anesthesia again following his last surgery.
An Italian diocese noted in a press release on June 7 that it had been notified by the Prefecture of the Papal Household that all of Pope Francis’ audiences, including general audiences, have been canceled until June 18 due to the pope’s surgery.
Pope Francis’ appointments canceled until June 18, Italian diocese says
Posted on 06/7/2023 18:15 PM (CNA Daily News)
Rome Newsroom, Jun 7, 2023 / 10:15 am (CNA).
Pope Francis’ audiences have been canceled until June 18, an Italian Catholic diocese said Wednesday, citing the Prefecture of the Papal Household.
The communications office of the Diocese of Teramo-Atri sent a press release June 7 expressing the bishop’s closeness to Francis after the pope was hospitalized to undergo abdominal surgery Wednesday afternoon.
According to a tweet posted by Vatican News, Holy See Press Office Director Matteo Bruni also told journalists the pope’s audiences were suspended until June 18 “as a precautionary measure.”
Catholics of the Diocese of Teramo-Atri, which is in central Italy’s Abruzzo region, were scheduled to meet Pope Francis in Rome in St. Peter’s Square on the morning of Saturday, June 17.
Bishop Lorenzo Leuzzi invited Catholics to unite in prayer for Pope Francis’ healing, especially on the solemnity of Corpus Christi, which will be celebrated on Sunday.
The Fratelli Tutti Foundation, which had organized an event with Pope Francis and Nobel laureates to take place in St. Peter’s Square on June 10, has said the gathering will go on as planned, at the pope’s request.
Pope Francis was taken to Rome’s Gemelli Hospital shortly after 11 a.m. on June 7 for a surgery under general anesthesia, the Vatican said.
The hospitalization followed Francis’ participation in the usual Wednesday general audience, at which he venerated a relic of St. Thérèse of Lisieux.
According to spokesman Matteo Bruni, Francis on Wednesday is undergoing an operation to repair a hernia through a laparotomy and abdominal wall reconstruction with prosthetic material.
The Vatican said the 86-year-old pope would spend “several days” in the hospital post-surgery.
Pope Francis visited the same hospital Tuesday for less than an hour, the Vatican confirmed June 6, following the publication of Italian media reports.
The pope’s surgery may be to repair a hernia that formed in the scar of the incision following his colon operation in July 2021 for diverticulitis.
Francis recovered in a hospital wing reserved for papal medical emergencies for 11 days following the July 4, 2021, surgery.
It is the same medical suite at Gemelli Hospital where St. John Paul II stayed for treatment at different points in his pontificate.
St. Anthony Mary Gianelli
Posted on 06/7/2023 16:00 PM (CNA - Saint of the Day)
Feast date: Jun 07
Anthony grew up in a poor but pious family in a small farming village in Lombardy, Italy. The owner of his family farm paid for Anthony's seminary education because he was such a promising student. He was very young for ordination and required a special dispensation, however he was ordained in 1812 and served as a parish priest, and eventually founded several religious communities, some of them short-lived.
In 1827, he founded the Missionaries of St. Alphonsus, which lasted until 1856. He also founded the Oblates of Saint Alphonsus in 1828, which lasted only 20 years. The Daughters of Our Lady of the Garden, which he founded in 1829, still continue their ministry in education and among the sick in Europe, Asia and the United States.
He was named bishop of Bobbio, Italy in 1837 and actively restored devotions and instructed the faithful. He was a people’s bishop, visiting with his parishes and organizing two synods. He died after nine years as bishop on June 7, 1846 due to a serious fever and tuberculosis.
He was canonized in 1951.
Pope Francis prayed with relic of St. Thérèse of Lisieux before surgery
Posted on 06/7/2023 12:37 PM (CNA Daily News)
Vatican City, Jun 7, 2023 / 04:37 am (CNA).
One of Pope Francis’ last gestures before undergoing abdominal surgery on Wednesday was to pray before a relic of St. Thérèse of Lisieux.
A relic of the French Carmelite nun, also known as St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, was present on the platform in front of St. Peter’s Basilica during the pope’s weekly general audience June 7.
Before beginning the audience, Francis venerated the relics of St. Thérèse in a moment of silent prayer. He also placed a single, white rose on the table in front of the reliquary.
Pope Francis was taken to Rome’s Gemelli Hospital for abdominal surgery under general anesthesia at the end of the morning audience, shortly after 11 a.m. Rome time, the Vatican said.
Relics of St. Thérèse’s parents, Sts. Louis and Zélie Guérin Martin, were also present at the meeting with the public June 7. The relics of all three saints will visit different churches in Rome through June 16.
Pope Francis said Wednesday he intends to publish an apostolic letter on St. Thérèse of Lisieux, “patroness of the missions,” to mark the 150th anniversary of her birth.
“She was a Carmelite nun who lived her life according to the way of littleness and weakness: She defined herself as ‘a small grain of sand,’” he said in St. Peter’s Square.
“Having poor health, she died at the age of only 24,” he added. “But though her body was sickly, her heart was vibrant, missionary.”
“Here before us are the relics of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, universal patroness of missions,” he said. “It is good that this happens while we are reflecting on the passion for evangelization, on apostolic zeal. Today, then, let us allow the witness of St. Thérèse to help us. She was born 150 years ago, and I plan to dedicate an apostolic letter to her on this anniversary.”
🎥HIGHLIGHTS | Before commencing the General Audience in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis shared a beautiful moment of prayer before the sacred relics of St. Therese of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church and Patroness of the Missions. As a symbol of his devotion, the Holy Father… pic.twitter.com/lRJeWuSx8n— EWTN Vatican (@EWTNVatican) June 7, 2023
St. Thérèse of Lisieux was born on Jan. 2, 1873, in Alençon, France. Her mother died when she was 4, leaving her father and older sisters to raise her. She received papal permission to enter the Carmelite Monastery at the young age of 15, where she lived until her death from tuberculosis at the age of 24.
She was proclaimed a doctor of the Church by Pope John Paul II in 1997 and is the patron saint of missions.
Pope Francis reflected on the saint’s life as part of a series of lessons on evangelical zeal.
“She is patroness of the missions, but she was never sent on mission,” Francis explained in his catechesis. “She recounts in her ‘diary’ that her desire was that of being a missionary and that she wanted to be one not just for a few years, but for the rest of her life, even until the end of the world.”
St. Thérèse did this, he said, by becoming a spiritual sister to several missionaries, whom she accompanied through her prayers, letters, and sacrifices from within the monastery walls.
“Without being visible, she interceded for the missions, like an engine that, although hidden, gives a vehicle the power to move forward,” the pope said.
“Missionaries, in fact — of whom Thérèse is patroness — are not only those who travel long distances, learn new languages, do good works, and are good at proclamation,” he added. “No, a missionary is anyone who lives as an instrument of God’s love where they are.”
Pope Francis recounted two episodes from St. Thérèse’s life that help to explain the source of her zeal and missionary strength.
The first happened during Christmas 1886, when Thérèse was almost 14 years old.
St. Thérèse was pampered as the youngest child of the family, he explained. But her father was tired after midnight Mass for Christmas and did not feel like being present when his daughter opened her gifts, so he said he was glad it was the last year she would receive gifts.
“Thérèse, who was very sensitive and easily moved to tears, was hurt, and went up to her room and cried,” the pope said.
“But she quickly suppressed her tears, went downstairs and, full of joy, she was the one who cheered her father,” he said. “What had happened? On that night, when Jesus had made himself weak out of love, her soul became strong: In just a few moments, she had come out of the prison of her selfishness and self-pity; she began to feel that ‘charity entered her heart’ — so she said — ‘with the need to forget herself’ (cf. Manuscript A, 133-134).”
“From then on, she directed her zeal toward others, that they might find God.”
The second event happened after St. Thérèse became a Carmelite. Pope Francis said the nun became aware of a hardened criminal, Enrico Pranzini, who was sentenced to death by guillotine for having murdered three people.
Thérèse had a special zeal for saving sinners, and so “she took him into her heart and did all she could: She prayed in every way for his conversion, so that he, whom, with brotherly compassion she called ‘poor wretched Pranzini,’ might demonstrate a small sign of repentance and make room for God’s mercy,” Francis said.
The day after his execution, she read in the newspaper that before laying his head on the chopping block, Pranzini had, “‘all of a sudden, seized by a sudden inspiration, turned around, grabbed a crucifix that the priest handed to him and kissed three times the sacred wounds’ of Jesus,” he continued.
“Then his soul,” St. Thérèse wrote, “went to receive the merciful sentence of the One who declared that in heaven there will be more joy for a single sinner who repents than for the 99 righteous who have no need of repentance!”
Pope Francis said: “With so many means, methods, and structures available, which sometimes distract from what is essential, the Church needs hearts like Thérèse’s, hearts that draw people to love and bring people closer to God.”
“Let us today ask this saint, whose relics we have here,” he added, “let us ask this saint for the grace to overcome our selfishness and for the passion to intercede that Jesus might be known and loved.”
Pope Francis’ health: Here’s a timeline of his medical issues in recent years
Posted on 06/7/2023 11:51 AM (CNA Daily News)
Vatican City, Jun 7, 2023 / 03:51 am (CNA).
Pope Francis will undergo abdominal surgery under general anesthesia on Wednesday afternoon, the Vatican has said.
The 86-year-old Francis, who has spent most of his 10 years as pope in relatively good health, has dealt with several painful medical conditions over the last few years.
Here is a timeline charting Pope Francis’ recent health concerns:
A bout of sciatic pain in the final days of 2020 kept Pope Francis from presiding at the Vatican’s liturgies on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
Francis has suffered from sciatica for a number of years; he spoke about it during an in-flight press conference returning from a trip to Brazil in July 2013.
“Sciatica is very painful, very painful! I don’t wish it on anyone,” he said about the condition, which starts in the lower back and can cause pain running down the back of the thigh and leg to the foot.
📹 VIDEO | Sound on! Listen to thousands of pilgrims encouraging Pope Francis as he makes a huge effort to stand up and walk at the end of the general audience. He is undergoing treatment for a torn ligament in his knee. Stay strong, dear Holy Father! pic.twitter.com/iejCLYtBlF— Catholic News Agency (@cnalive) May 4, 2022
Pope Francis was also forced to cancel three more public appearances at the end of January due to sciatic nerve pain.
A problem with his colon landed the pope in the hospital on July 4, 2021.
According to the Vatican, Francis underwent surgery to relieve stricture of the colon caused by diverticulitis. The three-hour surgery included a left hemicolectomy, the removal of one side of the colon.
During his 11-day stay in Rome’s Gemelli Hospital, the pope made “normal clinical progress” in his recovery, the Vatican said.
At meetings in January, Pope Francis shared that he was having problems with his knee.
“Excuse me if I stay seated, but I have a pain in my leg today ... It hurts me, it hurts if I’m standing,” the pope told journalists from the Jerusalem-based Christian Media Center on Jan. 17.
He explained further at a general audience the following week, saying the reason he would be unable to greet pilgrims as usual was because of a temporary “problem with my right leg,” an inflamed knee ligament.
At the end of February, Pope Francis canceled two public events due to knee pain and doctors’ orders to rest.
In the month that followed, he received help going up and down stairs but continued to walk and stand without assistance.
During a trip to Malta on the first weekend of April, Pope Francis used a lift to disembark the papal plane. A special lift was also installed at the Basilica of St. Paul in Rabat, so that Francis could visit and pray in the crypt grotto without taking the stairs.
On the return flight on April 3, he told journalists that “my health is a bit fickle, I have this knee problem that brings out problems with walking.”
At the Vatican’s Good Friday service, the pope did not lay prostrate before the altar, as he has done in the past.
He also did not preside over the Easter Vigil Mass on April 16 or participate in the paschal candle procession but sat in the front of the congregation in a white chair.
On April 22 and April 26, Francis’ agenda was cleared for medical checkups and rest for his knee, the Vatican said. The following day, the pope told pilgrims at his general audience that his knee prevented him from standing for very long.
Pope Francis also started to remain seated in the popemobile while greeting pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square.
On April 30, he said that his doctor had ordered him not to walk.
The pope said at the beginning of May that he would undergo a medical procedure on his knee, “an intervention with infiltrations,” by which he may have meant a therapeutic injection, sometimes used to relieve knee pain caused by ligament tears.
Two days later, he used a wheelchair in public for the first time since his July 2021 colon surgery. Throughout May he continued to use the wheelchair and avoid most standing and walking.
Francis was also undergoing over two hours of rehabilitation for his knee every day, according to an Argentine archbishop close to the pontiff.
The treatment “is giving results,” Archbishop Víctor Manuel Fernández wrote on Twitter on May 14 after he had a private meeting with Francis.
Other than his knee, “he’s better than ever,” Fernández added.
Earlier, Lebanon’s tourism minister had said that a reported papal visit to the country in June was being postponed due to the pope’s health.
The pope did stand for longer periods when celebrating a May 15 Mass in St. Peter’s Square. Afterward, a seminarian from Mexico caught a moment of lightheartedness between pilgrims and the pope as he greeted them from the popemobile.
Someone thanked the pope for being present at the Mass, despite his knee pain, to which Francis responded: “Do you know what I need for my knee? A bit of tequila.”
In early June, the Vatican postponed Pope Francis’ planned visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan for health reasons. The trip was planned for July 2–7 but was put off “at the request of his doctors, and in order not to jeopardize the results of the therapy that he is undergoing for his knee,” according to the Vatican.
Less than a week later, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis would not preside over the June 16 Corpus Christi Mass because of his knee problems and “the specific liturgical needs of the celebration.”
Pope Francis commented on his health and spoke about the effects of old age in general terms during his June 15 general audience.
“When you are old, you are no longer in control of your body. One has to learn to choose what to do and what not to do,” the pope said. “The vigor of the body fails and abandons us, even though our heart does not stop yearning. One must then learn to purify desire: Be patient, choose what to ask of the body and of life. When we are old, we cannot do the same things we did when we were young: The body has another pace, and we must listen to the body and accept its limits. We all have them. I too have to use a walking stick now.”
Toward the end of the month, on June 28, Pope Francis walked with a cane to meet bishops from Brazil and told them, “I have been able to walk for three days.”
On Aug. 4, the Vatican announced that Massimiliano Strappetti, a Vatican nurse, had been appointed as Pope Francis’ “personal health care assistant.”
José María Villalón, the head doctor of the Atlético de Madrid soccer team, was recruited to assist Pope Francis with his knee problems. He said the pope is “a very nice and very stubborn patient in the sense that there are surgical procedures that he does not want” and that “we have to offer him more conservative treatments so that he will agree to them.”
In an interview published by the Associated Press on Jan. 25, Pope Francis announced that his diverticulitis had returned. He emphasized that he is in “good health” and that, for his age, he is “normal.”
On Feb. 23 the Vatican announced that Pope Francis had a “strong cold.” The pope distributed copies of his speeches at two morning appointments rather than read them aloud as usual.
On March 29 the Vatican announced that Pope Francis was expected to remain in a hospital in Rome for “some days” due to a respiratory infection. It had been announced earlier in the day that he was in the hospital for previously scheduled medical checkups.
The Vatican confirmed that Pope Francis visited Gemelli Hospital’s center for the elderly for a 40-minute appointment on June 6.
On June 7, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said the pope would undergo an abdominal surgery under general anesthesia in the afternoon.
The operation, a laparotomy and abdominal wall reconstruction with prosthetic material, was necessary due to a hernia causing recurrent, painful, and worsening symptoms, Bruni said.
This story was originally published May 21, 2022, and updated on March 29, 2023, and June 7, 2023.
Pope Francis hospitalized for abdominal surgery
Posted on 06/7/2023 11:01 AM (CNA Daily News)
Rome Newsroom, Jun 7, 2023 / 03:01 am (CNA).
Pope Francis will undergo abdominal surgery under general anesthesia on Wednesday afternoon, the Vatican has confirmed.
The operation was planned by the pope’s medical team in recent days after it became necessary due to a hernia that was causing recurrent, painful, and worsening symptoms, according to Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni.
Bruni said that Pope Francis will have a laparotomy and abdominal wall reconstruction with prosthetic material in the early afternoon on June 7.
The surgery will attempt to repair an incisional hernia, a type of abdominal wall hernia at the site of a previous surgical incision. In the pope’s case, this could be the result of the scarring caused by the pope’s colon surgery in July 2021.
The pope will be taken to Rome’s Gemelli Hospital immediately after his general audience in St. Peter’s Square and will recover in the hospital for several days post-surgery.
The news of Pope Francis’ surgery comes one day after Italian media reported that he went to Gemelli hospital for a 40-minute visit on June 6.
Pope Francis, 86, was hospitalized for four days in March for a lung infection and canceled all of his scheduled activities on May 26 due to a fever.
Since early 2022 the pope has suffered from knee pain. He started to have difficulty standing and walking and has been using a cane and wheelchair for over a year.
Pope Francis told the Italian bishops in May last year that he did not want to have his knee operated on because he did not want to recover from general anesthesia again following his 2021 colon surgery.
The pope has also dealt this year with a recurrence of diverticulitis, a painful inflammation of bulges in the large intestine, for which he was operated on in July 2021.
Despite his recent medical challenges, the Vatican recently announced the pope’s intention to visit Mongolia Aug. 31–Sept. 1.
Francis is also scheduled to be in Lisbon, Portugal, for World Youth Day Aug. 2–6. The trip also includes a visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima.
Parents in Honduras launch movement to oppose imposition of gender ideology in schools
Posted on 06/7/2023 00:15 AM (CNA Daily News)
ACI Prensa Staff, Jun 6, 2023 / 16:15 pm (CNA).
Last Saturday, hundreds of parents in Honduras officially launched the “For Our Children” movement, a citizen platform that seeks to stop the attempt to impose gender ideology in the public school curriculum.
With the slogan “Don’t mess with my children,” a group of approximately 500 people met June 3 at the Cortés Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the city of San Pedro de Sula to present a manifesto highlighting the “inalienable right” of parents to educate their children according to their “values, principles, and beliefs.”
Martha Lorena de Casco, a member of the Pro-Life Honduras Committee, explained to ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, that this movement was formed to respond to the attempt by the administration of President Xiomara Castro to “mandate the implementation [of] a sex education guide with gender ideology starting in kindergarten.”
“This has got people worked up, because many people understand what gender is. Consequently, a movement was created that opposes the attempt of the presidency to apply a law that was designed without consulting parents and that was debated only among NGOs [nongovernmental organizations], trans groups, feminist groups. That is an affront,” the pro-life leader explained.
On March 8, the Honduran Congress passed the “Comprehensive Education Law for the Prevention of Teen Pregnancy” with the intention of creating “sex education curricula appropriate to the age of the students to prevent teen pregnancies.”
The manifesto published by For Our Children opposes this law because it “unilaterally incorporates ideologies promoted by international organizations that are not consistent with Honduran values or what we parents want for our children.”
The parents specified that any change in the curriculum must have their agreement because their “participation in educational institutions — public, private, Christian, and non-Christian — is a right and a prerogative.”
“We expressly state our right to participate directly and without mediators in any content review process, pedagogical forms, and key educational issues, etc., and in any attempt by this or future governments to modify the curriculum without our consent or to use its implementation to indoctrinate our children,” For Our Children stressed.
The parents also repudiated the intention to include comprehensive sex education.
This involves “the introduction of homosexuality, transgenderism, masturbation, sexual experimentation, gender fluid, and other identities to minors, even more so, to children in early childhood, which we consider perversion and abuse.”
The manifesto states it is “in favor of sex education with values based on biology and respect for the integrity of children.”
“No current educational model promoted by governments and international organizations should be implemented without the express consent of parents at any age,” the movement asserts.
Lastly, Honduran parents called on President Castro to veto the Comprehensive Sexual Education Law for the Prevention of Teen Pregnancy. They also urged her to publicly promise “that she will not continue the social experiment of gender ideology in our educational system.”
In addition, the manifesto requires the president to “promote and publicize a bill to strengthen the family and the preferential right of parents to the education of their children.”
“We will be vigilant, alert, and committed in every school in the country. Know [that] those that are behind this plan to ideologize our children … are not going to achieve it and that they will be met with a united and determined people,” the manifesto concludes.
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.