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Pope John Paul II

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Pope fighting new infection, Vatican confirms

CTV.ca News Staff

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Pope John Paul II's fragile health has suffered another setback. He is now being treated for a high fever caused by a urinary tract infection. Reports of the Pope's deteriorating health trickled out of Rome earlier Thursday, prompting speculation he had taken a sudden and drastic turn for the worse.

Shortly after Italian news agencies reported that a sudden drop in the pontiff's blood pressure had prompted doctors to intervene, the Vatican issued an unusually detailed briefing. "The Holy Father today was struck by a high-fever caused by a confirmed infection of the urinary tract," Vatican spokesperson Joaquin Navarro-Valls said. The condition was being treated with the "appropriate antibiotic therapy," he added. "The clinical situation is being closely watched by the Vatican medical team treating him."

Indeed, the light at the nursing station outside the pope's apartment was reported still on well past the papal bedtime Thursday night. Overnight in Rome, Italian news reported the Pope's condition as stable and responding well to the antibiotic treatment.

And in a report that fuelled contradictory speculation, ANSA said an emergency room chief at the Rome hospital where the Pope stayed twice last month said there were no immediate plans to admit him a third time.

For some, the report suggests the Pope is healthy enough not to need hospitalization, while for others it suggests he may be too weak to move. Whatever the case, a crowd of hundreds had gathered to hold vigil beneath the Pope's apartment window overlooking St. Peter's Square.

"There's nothing we can do but pray. We're all upset," Agriculture Minister Giovanni Alemanno told The Associated Press as he milled among the swelling crowd.

The Vatican offered no comment Thursday on reports the ailing 84-year-old pontiff had been given the last rites, or holy sacrament reserved for the infirm. If true, this would not be the first time the Pope has been so anointed. In 1981, after a failed attempt on his life, he was also given the last rites.

Recalling those days after the Pope was shot, veteran reporter Larry Stout said many were then saying he would never survive. "Well, he has lasted," Stout said. "And since that time he has probably circled the Earth at least once."

Watching developments from Toronto, Father Thomas Lynch said that love of reaching out to the faithful is one of the Pope's defining characteristics. "In terms of sitting behind a desk, that was never his strong point. He delegated that to who he considered to be capable people and he went out to meet people."

In the process, John Paul II kissed the ground in 129 countries, becoming in the process the most traveled, public pope in the history of the Church.

The Pope has had to slow down considerably in recent months, however, as a series of medical setbacks have forced him to curtail his normally packed schedule. On Wednesday, the Vatican underscored the seriousness of his condition when it confirmed the Pope was being fed through a tube.

Just hours after the pontiff made a brief silent appearance at his apartment window overlooking St. Peter's Square, Navarro-Valls said doctors had inserted a nasal-gastric feeding tube. It would boost the Pope's strength and aid his "slow and progressive" convalescence, the Vatican spokesperson told reporters.

There are reports difficulty swallowing have contributed to the Pope -- who also suffers from Parkinson's disease as well as crippling knee and hip ailments -- losing 19 kilograms since undergoing a tracheotomy to ease his breathing on Feb. 24. That was the second time he was admitted to Rome's Gemelli hospital in a month.

Throughout his recovery, the Pope has made repeated efforts to maintain at least part of his public schedule. Last week, for the first time in his 26-year papacy, the frail pope scaled down Holy Week appearances because of his ailments. He tried, but failed Sunday to give a blessing to the crowd gathered for Easter Sunday Mass.

The last time he spoke to the public was March 13, shortly before he was discharged from hospital for the second time.

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Guest ranster627

as of midnight he was sleeping comfortably ... EST

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Guest ranster627

Pope John Paul II has taken a serious turn for the worst and is considered in "grave" condition. During a news conference regarding his condition, the Press Officer for the Vatican was said to have been in tears!

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Guest ranster627

As per CNN:

BREAKING NEWS --- as of 12:00 EST

The Pope's kidneys are failing and breathing is shallow .... visibly deteriorating ...

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Guest Anonymous

This is all really fast isn't it? Very sad -- I've always admired him.

Thank you for the updates Ranster.

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It's very sad, but he has had a long life. Thanks for the updates Mr CNN junkie! :wink:

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Guest ranster627

CNN journalists acknowledge that the Pope is in his final hours for the first time. It is unsourced, but never said by journalists unless they are certain ...

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Guest ranster627

Reuters quoting Italian media report that Pope John Paul II has died!

uncomfirmed by CNN independently yet ...

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Guest ranster627

Huge crowds are gathered at St. Peter's ... we are waiting for a Vatican confirmation ....

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Guest Anonymous

Thanks again for the updates Ranster -- I can't get anything here at work so I'm counting on you!

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Guest ranster627

CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) reporting Pope's EKG has gone flatline ... CNN says EEG gone flatline ...

Both from contradictory Italian reports ...

The world is waiting ....

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Guest Anonymous

What a shock!! Am I imagining things or is this really sudden? He's been ill, yes, but I don't think anyone predicted this.

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Guest ranster627
CNN has just stated that the Vatican has said that he is alive.

Seems it is a huge rumour mill now .... some are saying "brain dead", some are saying still hanging on ... others have him deceased!

I will report when CNN confirms or official Vatican confirmation ... seems that the will the reliable way ...

Confirmed: The Pope is on his deathbed ...

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Guest ranster627
CNN has just stated that the Vatican has said that he is alive.

sourced as being from AP ...

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Guest ranster627
CBC says he's alive -- Vatican denies his death.

I am still unsure, because the Vatican can take a while on this ... the source from CBC is the same AP that CNN is carrying ... seems CBC is lagging on this one ...

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Guest ranster627
Well apparently there are customs when a pope dies.  Announcing it is the last of the customs that are to be done in order.  Right now a bishop is leading the crowd in prayer.

Yup, the rosary ...

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Guest ranster627

No breaking news here ...

Just an update ...

We are sure that the Pope is on his deathbed, and that he was made aware of this.

All "reliable" news agencies report that the Vatican has denied that the Pope has passed on ...

The crowds gathering are record in number, with all resigned to the ultimate event that will soon take place.

The world prays and waits ...

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Guest ranster627

No changes ... the Pope's breathing is described as shallow ...

World leaders are praying for the Pope and praising him ...

Will report again soon!

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Guest ranster627

Christiane Amanpour (Who I Love) of CNN has verified that every major organ of the Pope's body are now affected and expected to fail ... likelihood of recovery less than 20% for healthy younger people ...

It is down to hours (48 at the most) ... likely sooner!

People are no longer praying for recovery, but a peaceful transition ...

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Guest ranster627

CNN will maintain round the clock live programming with full coverage surrounding the Pope ...

Normally CNN goes to repeats overnight, but will suspend this starting tonight at midnight. Live coverage will be through their International Network which will be patched in to CNN USA. This begins at midnight tonight. Regular network programming with full coverage of the Pope will return at 7:00 am EST.

The time in Rome is 7 hours ahead of EST.

I will hang in on here as long as I can, but wanted everyone to know where they can access coverage ...

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Thanks for hanging :wink:

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Guest ranster627

You are most welcome ...

Further CNN Network business --- all major anchors are headed to Rome ...

This is a sure sign that it's the real deal folks! :cry:

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Vatican: Pope John Paul II Is Near Death

By VICTOR L. SIMPSON, Associated Press Writer

VATICAN CITY - Pope John Paul II was near death as dawn approached Saturday, his breathing shallow and his heart and kidneys failing, the Vatican said. Millions of faithful around the world paid homage, many weeping as they knelt with bowed heads, others carrying candles in prayer for the 84-year-old pontiff.

The pope "is on the verge of death," Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, head of the Vatican's health care office, told the Mexican television network Televisa. "I talked to the doctors and they told me there is no more hope."

Addressing the crowd at St. Peter's Square, where as many as 70,000 people prayed and stood vigil in the chilly night, Angelo Comastri, the pope's vicar general for Vatican City, said "This evening or this night, Christ opens the door to the pope,"

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