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Pope struggles for words but does not give up

Pope John Paul II failed in his attempts to speak during an audience with Uruguayan President Jorge Batlle yesterday, as a visiting senior Polish bishop said he was "suffering" but would not give up.

After private talks lasting 15 minutes with Batlle, the Uruguayan president's 10-strong delegation was ushered into the pope's library.

The Holy Father did not appear in good shape and did not say a single word to the delegation.

Delegation members were however able to kiss the hand of John Paul II, who gave them a medal marking the 25th anniversary of his election this week.

Tadeusz Styczen, a professor at Poland's Lublin university and one of the Polish bishops closest to the pope, underlined, however, the "strength of the pope's spirit despite the fragility of his body."

"The pope is suffering but is not giving up. He will go on until the end," Styczen said.

The pope faces one of the toughest weeks of his pontificate as he prepares for the 25th anniversary of his election amid deepening concerns about his failing health.


Pope cannot speak; health concerns mount (Catholic World News) (Catholic World News)
This Pope could go down in history as John Paul the Great (
Poles celebrate pope's silver jubilee
Pope celebrates 25 years (TV One News NZ)
Poles celebrates pope's silver anniversary (Washington Times/UPI)
Jubilee for frail Pope (London Daily Mirror)
Pope celebrates 25 years (SBS)
Comment: John Paul II is not a conservative (CNN)
Cardinals Arrive for Papal Anniversary
Cardinals Arrive for Papal Anniversary (The Guardian/AP)
John Paul II Notes His "Preferential" Dialogue With Youth (Zenit)
Notes Preferential Dialogue With the Young (Zenit)
Pope John Paul II's 25 Years in the Vatican a Blessing for Poland (AFP)
Pope Gives Thanks for 25-Year Pontificate (AFP)
Opinion: Why the Pope is too big for the peace prize
Pope meets Gusmao after dialysis denial (13/10/03)
Pope unfazed by Nobel miss (13/10/03)

14 Oct 2003