The 84-year-old pope, who had part of his colon removed during the surgery on July 4, stressed the importance of a healthcare system that is “free and guarantees good service accessible to all” during remarks that lasted approximately 10 minutes on the balcony of his hospital suite on Sunday.
“In these days that I have been in hospital, I saw once more how important it is to have a good healthcare system that is accessible to all, as it exists in Italy and in other countries,” he said, according to Reuters.
He appeared to be short of breath at times during his speech to the hundreds of people who cheered him on and listened to the address.
Of a free and reliable health service, Pope Francis added, “This precious good should not be lost. It must be maintained, and everyone should be committed to this because everyone needs it.”
The pope’s ailment, also called diverticulitis, is a common condition that affects more than half of American adults and is characterized by the development of small sacs in the wall of the colon, according to CNN.
Sunday’s sermon from his hospital suite was the pope’s first time since being elected in 2013 that he didn’t read the Sunday prayer and message from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, with the exception of when he has been traveling.
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