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Vatican denies Pope Francis brain tumour report

Published 21/10/2015

Reports that Pope Francis has a small, curable brain tumour have been denied (AP)
Reports that Pope Francis has a small, curable brain tumour have been denied (AP)

The Vatican has denied a report in an Italian newspaper that Pope Francis has a small, curable brain tumour.

A Vatican spokesman said the report in the National Daily was "unfounded and seriously irresponsible".

"The pope is carrying out as always with his intense activities," the Rev Federico Lombardi said in a statement.

Citing unnamed sources, the newspaper said the pope had travelled to the San Rossore di Barbaricina clinic near Pisa in recent months to see a Japanese specialist, Dr Takanori Fukushima.

The newspaper said the doctor determined that the small dark spot on Francis's brain could be cured without surgery.

The newspaper's editor, Andrea Cangini, said it expected the denial but stood by its story.

The ANSA news agency, citing unnamed sources in Pisa, has since reported that Dr Fukushima travelled to the Vatican in January and Francis's diagnosis had been made at the time.

The newspaper's editor, Andrea Cangini, said it deliberated a long time before publishing the news.

The publication, however, comes at a delicate time for Francis, in the final days of his hotly contested synod on the family, which has shown a split among conservative and liberal bishops over how to convey the church's teachings on marriage, sex, homosexuality and other issues.

Several conservative bishops and cardinals have complained that the synod is creating confusion and "anxiety" about the church's teachings.

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