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Pope's health improving

While Sydney Cardinal George Pell told ABC Radio yesterday that Pope John Paul II was "not well, not at all well" when he saw him during last month's consistory in Rome, former Polish President Lech Walesa has said Pope John Paul II's health has improved "incredibly" since last month.

"The suitable therapy must have been found because the Pope has overcome his moment of weakness," Walesa said after a meeting with the Holy Father earlier this week. Walesa had also met the Pope last month during celebrations marking the 25th anniversary of his election and also attended the ceremony beatifying Mother Theresa.

Cardinal Pell did not rule out a return to form for the 83 year old who is suffering from Parkinson's Disease.

"He's full of surprises, he's surprised us before, but he's certainly slipped. Whether he'll rally or bounce back, well time will tell."

Meanwhile Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels expressed his belief that Pope John Paul II is undergoing a "mystical suffering" comparable to that of St. Therese of Lisieux.

He told an Italian news agency that the Pope is "nailed to his wheelchair" in the same way that St Therese was "nailed to her bed" while she thought and prayed about her desire to be a missionary. In each case, he explained, the individual's suffering is offered for the good of the Church. Pope John Paul, he said, is "entering into the passion and into the dark night".

Pell notes Pope's declining health (ABC Radio AM)
Pope's health has improved "incredibly" since last month: Lech Walesa (AFP/Yahoo)
Cardinal compares Pope to St. Therese in "mystical suffering" (Catholic World News)

13 Nov 2003