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Prayer to blame for Pope's weak knees

Pope John Paul II's doctors believe that the arthrosis he suffers from is due to long hours of prayer on his knees, the Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported.

This paper quoted sources close to the Pope's personal physician, Renato Buzzonetti, to exclude the possibility that his suffering is caused by other health problems.

They said that medical tests indicate the Pope's problem was not caused by degeneration of the hip prosthesis, which he received in 1994.

John Paul II began to feel intense pain on 24 February, on the last day of his yearly spiritual retreat. He usually listens to the meditations on his knees.

The Holy Father will continue with his private audiences and usual agenda, which includes heavy commitments during Holy Week. He has only cancelled his visits to Roman parishes.

Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro-Valls told Vatican Radio on Tuesday that the Pope will keep his long-term appointments. The most important are his visit to Toronto in July for World Youth Day, followed by visits to Mexico and Guatemala. A trip to Poland in August is possible.



8 Mar 2002