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Vatican again denies report that Pope has brain tumor

October 22, 2015

The Holy See Press Office has again denied an Italian newspaper report that Pope Francis has been treated by a Japanese doctor for a small brain tumor.

“I fully confirm my previous statement, having verified the facts with the appropriate sources, including the Holy Father,” said Father Federico Lombardi, director of the press office. “No Japanese doctor has visited the Pope in the Vatican and there have been no examinations of the type indicated in the article.”

Following Father Lombardi’s original denial, Quotidiano Nazionale reported that the surgeon, Dr. Takanori Fukushima of the San Rossore Treatment Center in Pisa, visited the Vatican from January 28 to 30, arriving by helicopter.

“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,” Father Lombardi stated. “I am able to confirm that the Pope is in good health.”

Father Lombardi added:

I reiterate that the publication of this false information is a grave act of irresponsibility, absolutely inexcusable and unconscionable. It would be equally unjustifiable to continue to fuel similarly unfounded information. It is hoped, therefore, that this matter be closed immediately.

In a related development, Dr. Fukushima removed from his own personal web site photos of visits to the Vatican in October 2014 and January 2015. The web site had shown photos of a meeting between the doctor and Pope Francis; those photos appeared to have been retouched. Dr. Fukushima has said that he only met the Pontiff briefly, in the course of a public audience, and never for a medical consultation or treatment.


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  • Posted by: feedback - Oct. 22, 2015 12:02 PM ET USA

    "This false information is a grave act of irresponsibility, absolutely inexcusable and unconscionable." Those emotionally charged denials have established a record of being correct about 50:50. A simple YES meaning YES and NO meaning NO would be better and more trustworthy.

  • Posted by: Jason C. - Oct. 22, 2015 9:54 AM ET USA

    Sad that my first instinct is to put a 'not' in front of everything Fr. Lombardi says. :( Hope my instinct's wrong this time!