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Fresh doubts about Pope's health

The media in Italy is reporting that Pope John Paul II "is very weak" and that there is "great concern" for his health at the Vatican, despite Monday's statements Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls that there's no reason for reporters to be on standby.

"The Pope blesses, but he doesn't speak. His condition has worsened," reported the Italian daily Il Messaggero. "The joy of seeing him, the sadness at seeing him this Saturday. These were the two emotions John Paul II inspired at the beginning of his Holy Week of suffering: he will be absent from the celebrations and will remain present with his silent blessings," the article - quoted by Catholic News Agency (CNA) - stated.

The daily La Repubblica claimed that "a wave of concern was evident throughout the Apostolic Palace after the silent appearance of John Paul II at the end of Palm Sunday Mass."

CNA says John Paul II is under 24-hour watch by a medical staff lead by Dr Renato Buzzonetti. The Apostolic Palace has been equipped with emergency medical equipment, including respirators, oxygen, and heart monitors.

Menwhile Catholic World News describes the Holy Father's silent appearance at his window on Sunday, at the time of the Angelus, in a story titled Pope in pain during quick public appearance.

"The Pope's face betrayed his suffering, and at one point during his 2-minute appearance he put his hand to his face in a gesture of fatigue or pain," it says. "His secretary, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, quickly appeared behind him, evidently ready to help him back into his room. But in what seemed to be a signal of determination, the Pope rapped his hand on the window sill and remained in place for a few more moments."

The obvious fatigue and suffering of the Pope presage a difficult Holy Week for John Paul II, who has been severely limited in his movements and his ability to speak. The Holy Father is not scheduled to take a direct part in any of the major liturgical celebrations of the week, although some speculation remains that he may attempt a video appearance at the Way of the Cross on Good Friday.

Prior to the Pope's appearance, Archbishop Leonardo Sandri told the crowd that the Pope had followed the Mass on television.

Italian press speculates about Pope's fragile health (Catholic News Agency 22/3/05)
Pope in pain during quick public appearance (Catholic World News 21/3/05)

Palm Sunday pilgrims retrace Jesus' trip to Jerusalem (CathNews 21/3/05)
Pope marks anniversary of Gaudium et Spes (CathNews 18/3/05)
No more updates on Pope's health crisis (CathNews 17/3/05)
Era of 'video-pope' approaches (CathNews 15/3/05)
Pope returns home from hospital (CathNews 14/3/05)
Pell says distance creates Australian uncertainty about Pope's health (CathNews 14/3/05)
Pope to come home for Holy Week (CathNews 11/3/05)
Pope a non-starter for Holy Week (CathNews 9/3/05)
Pope told to use gestures to spare voice (CathNews 8/3/05)
Pope's message to Berlusconi on hero Nicola Calipari (CathNews 7/3/05)
Pope hoping to be home for Easter (CathNews 4/3/05)
Cardinal urges pope to keep World Youth Day commitment (CathNews 4/3/05)
Pope celebrates Mass in hospital room (CathNews 2/3/05)
Chilean cardinal to announce Pope's successor (CathNews 1/3/05)
Pell backs Pope resolve to carry on (CathNews 28/2/05)
Pope set for tracheotomy procedure (CathNews 25/2/05)
Mixed signals on Pope recovery (CathNews 23/2/05)
New Pope book hits Jewish sensitivities (ICathNews 21/2/05)
Pope tells media to promote truth, not trash (CathNews 22/2/05)
Vatican official urges effort to reach lapsed Catholics (CathNews 4/6/04)
Pope again encourages use of Internet for evangelisation (CathNews 18/2/04)
Vatican official urges advertising that promotes human dignity (CathNews 29/10/03)
64% in US use Internet for religious reasons (CathNews 19/5/04)
Pope says truth in media serves cause of peace (CathNews 26/3/03)

Fresh concerns over pope's health cast pall over Vatican's Holy Week (Agence France-Presse/Yahoo 23/3/05)
Italian press speculates about Pope's fragile health (Catholic News Agency 22/3/05)
Pope in pain during quick public appearance (Catholic World News 21/3/05)
New crisis in Pope's health? (Catholic World News 22/3/05)
In aged care we trust (Property Review 23/3/05)
Macquarie Bank to buy aged care provider (Sydney Morning Herald 22/3/05)
Pope health still precarious (Reuters 22/3/05)
Fresh fears for Pope's health (Agence France-Presse/The Advertiser 22/3/05)
Fresh fears for Pope's health (Agence France-Presse/The Australian 22/3/05)
Pope Urges Renewal of Arts to Transmit Values (Zenit 21/3/05)
Poll: Pope John Paul II Is Broadly Popular (ABC USA 20/3/05)
Pope misses Mass, but offers Palm Sunday blessing from residence (Catholic News Service 21/3/05)
Pope tells university students to 'renew art and culture' (Catholic News Agency 21/3/05)
Pope's Recovery In Question (Associated Press/CBS 21/3/05)
Pope's mute appearance raises new doubts about his recovery (Associated Press/TV7 21/3/05)
Pope blesses young people on 20th World Youth Day (Vatican Information Service 20/3/05)
John Paul II Appears at Window at End of Mass (Zenit 20/3/05)
"Palm Sunday Has Become Your Day," Pope Tells Young People (Zenit 20/3/05)

23 Mar 2005