Kerry meets Pope Francis privately, says he’s in great form and spirits

FILE PHOTO: Pope Francis leads the Angelus prayer from his window at the Vatican, June 18, 2023. REUTERS/Yara Nardi/File Photo

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – U.S. climate envoy John Kerry met Pope Francis on Monday, the first official to have a private audience with him since his discharge from hospital, and told Reuters that he found the pontiff “in great spirits and in great form”.

Francis, 86, left Rome’s Gemelli hospital on Friday, nine days after surgery to repair an abdominal hernia.

“He was in great spirits and great form … I was really amazed. He embraced a lot of our conversation. It was a nice meeting,” said Kerry, who was the first person on the pope’s public schedule.

“I found the pope to be very much the pope that I have had the privilege of seeing several times over the last years. He was strong. He was clear. He seemed in very good form and good spirits,” Kerry, 79, said in an interview in front of St. Peter’s Square.

In 2015, Francis wrote a landmark encyclical, the highest form of papal writing, on the need to protect the environment, combat climate change and reduce use of fossil fuels.

Kerry is having a series of meetings ahead of COP28, the latest U.N. climate summit that is to be held at the end of this year in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.

(This story has been refiled to remove extraneous word ‘Friday’ from paragraph 1)

(Reporting by Philip Pullella; editing by Toby Chopra and Mark Heinrich)

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