Pope Francis has canceled his participation in a traditional Lent retreat, blaming his ongoing battle with a cold.
Coughing while giving his regular Sunday blessing to pilgrims, the Pope said he will not be attending the week-long spiritual exercises that he started to mark the beginning of Lent. The retreat is held in the Italian countryside.
The 83-year-old pontiff has been sick for several days and has canceled several official engagements. He lost part of a lung to a respiratory disease as young man.
He was also seen coughing and blowing his nose during Mass on Ash Wednesday.