Catholic News - Catholic Telecommunications, a devision of Catholic Resources





Pope thanks world leaders for anniversary congratulations

Pope John Paul II has thanked the many heads of state and government and leaders of other religious faiths who sent him their congratulations this month on the 25th anniversary of his taking office.

The Holy Father was applauded by dozens of worshippers assembled in St Peter's Square on Sunday for the midday Angelus.

He thanked the "heads of state and government leaders of so many countries who sent me their congratulations, and for.....the witness of Christians of other denominations, as well as those of other faiths."

The pope read his address in a clear but trembling voice punctuated by coughing and pauses to recover his breath.

"The intense emotions experienced in recent days when so many were assembled around me for the 25th anniversary of my pontificate are still very alive in my mind," he said. "I thank God for these 25 years of service to the Church...and commit my life and my ministry to the Virgin Mary."

The pope appeared exhausted at the end of the week-long celebrations during which he celebrated solemn mass, a mass for the beatification of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and a mass for 30 new cardinals. Neurologists say his speaking difficulties are caused by the advanced Parkinson's disease from which he suffers, and doctors have advised him to rest.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Sydney's Cardinal George Pell said the Pope "needs our prayers as he struggles to do his duty in increasing infirmity", but "life is full of surprises, and the Holy Father has surprised us before".

Meanwhile Rome-based John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter described Cardinal Pell in his latest Word from Rome column as a "favourite of journalists because he is neither a diplomat nor a spin doctor, but a man with strong conservative views who states them clearly".

Pope Thanks World Leaders for Anniversary Congratulations (AFP/Tehran Times)
Receiving the crimson as the Holy City plays host to saintly ceremonies (Archdiocese of Sydney)
John Allen: The Word from Rome

Pope offers thanks for anniversary celebrations (Catholic World News)
Next pope occupies cardinals' thoughts (Washington Times)
Holiness Doesn't Go Out of Fashion, Pope Says (Zenit)
Receiving the crimson as the Holy City plays host to saintly ceremonies (Archdiocese of Sydney)

28 Oct 2003