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Pope says he will stay "as long as God wants"

An emotional Pope John Paul said on Friday that he intends to stay on as leader of the Church "as long as God wants".

The pope made his comment to cardinals and bishops from around the world at the close of a four-day seminar on his pontificate, which marked its 25th anniversary on Thursday.

"I ask you to continue to pray for me so that I faithfully carry out my service to the Church for as long as God wants," he said, speaking in slow Italian.

As has become custom, a senior aide read most of his address to the group, gathered in the Vatican's audience hall. The Holy Father has asked aides to help him read his speeches in order to conserve his strength.

He was reportedly in "relatively good form" but with glassy eyes that betrayed his emotion, was then due to have lunch with the prelates.

Friday's comment was nearly identical to one he made on Thursday when he said God wanted him to continue leading the Catholic Church despite his frailty.


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Pope to stay 'as long as God wants' (RTE)
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Where were you on October 16th, 1978? Archbishop Francis Carroll of Canberra and President of the Catholic Bishops Conference was at home in Australia. He remembers the first Polish Pope's election, while Bishop Mark Coleridge of Melbourne looks back at Pope John Paul's impact down under.
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20 Oct 2003