Pope is doing fine, says German cardinal

1st March 2005, Comments 0 comments

1 March 2005, ROME - Pope John Paul II was able to exchange a few words in hospital with one of his closest aides, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany, on Tuesday. "The Holy Father spoke to me in German and Italian. He was present and will be working on the material I have just given him," Cardinal Ratzinger told reporters after a visit to Rome's Gemelli clinic. As if seeking to dispel concerns that the pope may no longer be able to lead and speak out for Catholics as a result of throat surgery, the theol

1 March 2005

ROME - Pope John Paul II was able to exchange a few words in hospital with one of his closest aides, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany, on Tuesday.

"The Holy Father spoke to me in German and Italian. He was present and will be working on the material I have just given him," Cardinal Ratzinger told reporters after a visit to Rome's Gemelli clinic.

As if seeking to dispel concerns that the pope may no longer be able to lead and speak out for Catholics as a result of throat surgery, the theologian added: "I am glad to see that the Holy Father is mentally fully alert and also able to say essential things with his voice".

Cardinal Ratzinger, who as head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is one of the pope's closest aides, was one of several officials to have visited the pope on in recent days.

According to Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls, the pope was "a good patient" and was doing "fine".

"Everything is normal, he will be celebrating Mass (in his hospital room)," Navarro-Valls added.

The 84-year-old pope has been spending about an hour a day exercising his breathing and speech after last week's tracheotomy, an operation that introduced a small tube through a hole in the throat to facilitate breathing.

But "the great communicator" will still need a few weeks yet before he will be able to talk again, according to reports.

Vatican legal experts note that a voiceless pope would still be entitled to lead the Church as long as he is able to communicate in some form or other and as long as he remains lucid.

The Vatican has not said how long the pope will remain in hospital and will only issue a new medical bulletin on Thursday.

The pope was rushed to hospital last week after suffering from a breathing crisis. He was first hospitalised because of a throat infection on 1 February but was dismissed from the Gemelli clinic 10 days later.

DPA

Subject: German news

 

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