|Vatican||JOHN PAUL 'WILL NEVER RESIGN' — RATZINGER|
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has dismissed claims that John Paul II intends to resign as Pope.
Speaking on pontiff's 80th birthday, he ruled out resignation "in the most absolute way".
The Cardinal, one of the Pope's closest colleagues, claimed that John Paul II was "even greater" in his old age and still "very present in the Church".
The comments will be seen as a rebuff to critics, who have called for the Pope to stand down because of his physical frailty "I exclude it in the most absolute way," Cardinal Ratzinger told Italy's La Repubblica newspaper. "I really do not believe in such an eventuality. I do not see how the Holy Father could imagine something like that, not even vaguely."