A Vatican spokesman denied reports on Wednesday that Pope Francis is ill, saying that the curtailment of his public summer schedule is common for popes.
"There is no sickness whatsoever," said the Rev. Thomas Rosica, a consultant to the Vatican press office. "If there was, we would be open about that and asking people to pray for him."
Francis made his usual public appearance in St. Peter's Square on Wednesday morning and is planning a trip to South Korea from August 13 to 18.
As he did last year, Pope Francis will not make public appearances in St. Peter's Square during July and has scaled back his daily celebration of Masses at Casa Santa Marta for the summer, Rosica said.
It is customary for popes to vacation during the summers months. Francis, 77, will continue working, Rosica said, while limiting public appearances.
Earlier this month, Francis rested for two days because of "minor indisposition" and tiredness, the Vatican said. Church officials announced the Pope's curtailed summer schedule on Monday, leading some to speculate that he is ill.
"There is no illness," Rosica said.
Still, some church officials have urged the aging pontiff to cut back on his grueling schedule.
“We have been asking him to have holidays this year,” Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras, one of the Pope's closest advisers, told reporters during a visit to Washington this month. “Because last year he didn’t and sometimes he’s very tired.”
Francis has also worried Catholic officials by refusing to use the bulletproof Popemobile.
"It's true that anything could happen, but let's face it, at my age I don't have much to lose," he told Barcelona newspaper La Vanguardia. "I know that something could happen to me, but it's in the hands of God."