|France||CARDINAL SAYS POPE'S DISEASE DECREASES MOBILITY, BUT MIND INTACT|
Pope John Paul II's neurological disease is making him more and more a ``prisoner in his body,'' but the pope's mind and spiritual gifts remain intact, French Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger said.
Cardinal Lustiger, archbishop of Paris, made the comments in an interview with the French weekly newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche. It was published as the pope -- at times looking drawn and tired -- led a heavy schedule of Easter activities at the Vatican.
``It is known that his illness is leading to a progressive paralysis of the body, but his spiritual faculties remain intact,'' Cardinal Lustiger was quoted as saying.
``This man, who used to be an athlete, is becoming more and more a prisoner in his body. But he maintains a spiritual force, an intellectual capacity and a memory which are extraordinary for someone who will be 80 next month,'' the cardinal said.
The pope suffers from a neurological disorder widely believed to be Parkinson's disease, which causes progressive deterioration of the nervous system and decreasing mobility. The pontiff has walked with difficulty following hip surgery in 1994.
Cardinal Lustiger said the pope was handling his physical limitations well, and that he continued to carry out his papal mission ``faithfully and courageously, like a good servant.''