Vatican rejects rumors over Pope Francis' health as false and irresponsible

(Reuters)Pope Francis talks to journalist on the papal plane during his flight to Manila.

The Holy See press office has poured cold water on reports carried in an Italian newspaper, saying the claims that Pope Francis is suffering from a brain tumor are both false and irresponsible.

"The circulation of entirely unfounded news regarding the health of the Holy Father by an Italian newspaper is gravely irresponsible and unworthy of attention.

"Furthermore, as is clearly evident, the Pope is carrying out his very intense activity in a totally normal way," said Fr. Federico Lombardi, the director of the Holy See press office Oct. 21

The statement by Lombardi followed an Oct 21 report by Italian newspaper Quotidiano Nazionale that claimed the Pope had been diagnosed with a small but curable brain tumor.

"No Japanese doctor has visited the Pope in the Vatican and there have been no examinations of the type indicated in the article," said Lomardi. T

"The competent offices have confirmed that there have been no arrivals of external parties in the Vatican by helicopter; similarly, there were no arrivals of this type during the month of January."

The Italian newspaper said that Francis had been examined by Japanese brain cancer specialist, Dr. Takanori Fukushima, saying determined a small dark spot the Pope's brain was a tumor and it could be treated without surgery.

In a statement issued late Oct. 21 by Duke University in North Carolina, Fukushima said: "I have never medically examined the pope. These stories are completely false," The Associated Press reported.

Fr. Lombardi pointed out that Pope Francis' busy schedule has continued without issue.

"Moreover, as everyone can see, the Pope is carrying out his very intense activity without interruption in a way that is absolutely normal," Catholic News Agency reported.

Pope Francis is taking part in the Synod on the Family taking place in the Vatican.

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