June 11, 2014 at 8:01 am

Pope Francis presides over audience in scorching heat after illness

Pope Francis smiles as he waves to faithful at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, June 11, 2014. (Gregorio Borgia / AP)

Vatican City — Pope Francis has presided over a scorching hot audience in St. Peter’s Square in seemingly good form after canceling two days of meetings due to an illness.

Francis began his weekly Wednesday audience about an hour early, meeting with sick and disabled pilgrims who were moved to an indoor Vatican auditorium to spare them the searing 93-degree Fahrenheit temperatures in the piazza.

Francis told them: “We thought you’d be better off in here, where it’s a bit cooler, and not under that burning sun.”

Afterward, Francis presided as usual over the hour-long audience outdoors. He made off-the-cuff remarks denouncing corrupt businessmen, human trafficking and forced child labor.

The 77-year-old pontiff came down with an unspecified illness on Monday, canceled his audiences and took Tuesday to rest.