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Vatican? More Like Vatican't! Eat Spaghetti, That Is

Pope Francis speaks during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on Wednesday. ANSA, the Italian news agency, is reporting that the pope's doctors have urged him to reduce his pasta consumption.
Pope Francis speaks during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on Wednesday. ANSA, the Italian news agency, is reporting that the pope's doctors have urged him to reduce his pasta consumption.

The pope's doctors are telling him to lay off pasta and get more exercise.

The Italian news agency ANSA is reporting that the 78-year-old pontiff's doctors told him to get more exercise and cut back his pasta intake to twice a week. But Pope Francis, who reportedly eats a plate of spaghetti every day, has not taken well to the suggestions; one doctor tells ANSA the pope is an "undisciplined" patient.

The ANSA report notes the pope has gained weight recently and suffers from sciatica, a lower-back problem.

Focus on Francis' health comes as he himself has said in interviews that he feels occasionally tired.

"Do you know how many times I think about this: The weariness which all of you experience?" Francis said during his Holy Thursday meditation. "I think about it and pray about it often, especially when I'm tired myself."

Those comments come after remarks he made in an interview last month with Mexican broadcaster Televisa.

"I have a sensation that my pontificate will be short: four or five years, or two or three," he said.

In that same interview, he also noted that he missed the relative anonymity he had as a bishop when he could go out and get pizza. Just days after that interview, the pope had his wish fulfilled. As The Associated Press reports: "Pizza maker Enzo Cacialli had a pie on hand as Francis drove by the Naples waterfront ... during his one-day visit to the city famous for its pizza."

And as you can see in the picture below, Francis was only happy to accept it.

The Crux, the Boston Globe's website that covers Catholic issues, adds: "So far, the Vatican has not reacted to the report about the pope's doctors urging him to take better care of himself. In such cases, the Vatican typically takes the position that such matters pertain to the pope's private life and thus declines to release any comment."

But while the Vatican may be tight-lipped, New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who appeared on NBC's Today show, had some advice for the pope: "Get a new doctor."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Krishnadev Calamur is NPR's deputy Washington editor. In this role, he helps oversee planning of the Washington desk's news coverage. He also edits NPR's Supreme Court coverage. Previously, Calamur was an editor and staff writer at The Atlantic. This is his second stint at NPR, having previously worked on NPR's website from 2008-15. Calamur received an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri.
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