Thursday, March 31, 2005

Pope Responding to Antibiotics

Good news out of Rome late tonight: According to the Vatican's official radio, the Pope is responding well to the antibiotics being used to treat the infection in his urinary tract and his condition "appears to have been stabilized." According to the Age:
"The pontiff seems to be reacting well to the antibiotics that he has been administered, and, at the very end of the evening, his condition appears to have stabilised," Vatican radio said in a report on its website.

Read more: Pope's condition 'stabilised'

Sacrament of the Infirm

To elaborate on Boney's earlier post--The Pope has receieved the Sacrament of the Infirm, also known as the Sacrament of the Annointing of the Sick, or Last Rites. Pope John Paul II has actually received this Sacrament one other time, on May 13, 1981, the day of his assasination attempt when he was shot in St. Peter's Square and was nearly killed. But of course the Pope made a full recovery and has reigned for nearly 24 years since that incident. The Sacrament involves annointing the ill person with special oils and is meant to provide comfort and is in no way a confirmation that the person's death is imminent.

Indeed, it is possible that the Pope will recover from his high fever, as he is currently being treated with antibiotics. The next 24 hours will be critical, as that is the amount of time it generally takes for antibiotics to enter the bloodstream and become effective.

Pope Given Last Rites

Pope John Paul II received the sacrament of the annointing of the sick, also known as last rites, late Thursday night as his health deteriorated. A high fever was brought on by an infection of the urinary tract and is currently being treated by antibiotics. Note that the administration of last rites does not necessarily mean that the pope is dying, but rather that he is seriously sick. CNN reports:

The pope is suffering from a high fever caused by a urinary tract infection, the Vatican confirmed earlier Thursday -- one day after revealing he had been put on a nasal feeding tube for nutrition.

Read more: Vatican source: Pope given last rites

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Pope Blesses Easter Crowd

Pope John Paul II, unable to speak, blessed the thousands gathered for Easter Mass in St. Peter's Square earlier this morning by making the sign of the cross with his hand. Today was the first Easter Mass during John Paul's papacy at which he did not preside. Cardinal Angelo Sodano filled in for the Pope and read his Easter message for him. Since the Pope's tracheostomy on February 24, he has only been able to utter a few words in public, and is not not able to speak fully. According to the Associated Press via the International Herald Tribune:
A prayer was said during the Mass asking for "life and new energies" for the ailing pontiff and the entire Catholic Church.

Read more: Pope celebrates Easter

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Holy Father doing God's work, despite limited public appearances

As the Holy Father continues to convalesce, he has cancelled many regular public audiences. This past Wednesday, however, he was able to appoint a new bishop in Spain. According to The Gaurdian Unlimited:

"John Paul has scaled back his appearances since his back-to-back hospitalizations and has designated cardinals to take his place during this week's busy Holy Week ceremonies. The Vatican has only confirmed one appointment for the pontiff - an Easter Sunday blessing."

Read more: John Paul II to Limit Public Appearances

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Pope John Paul II May Be in Palm Sunday Audience

The Pope may be a spectator for Palm Sunday Mass. His vicar for Rome, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, has been designated to lead instead. According to MSNBC:

The Vatican said Friday that John Paul was expected to appear at his studio window on Palm Sunday. But it wasn’t clear if he might speak to pilgrims and tourists in the Square.

Accepting the advice of his doctors, John Paul’s only Holy Week commitment is an Easter Sunday blessing, while he regains strength at the Vatican after being hospitalized twice in a month with breathing problems.

Read more:Ailing pope may be in Palm Sunday audience

Monday, March 07, 2005

Pope to Attend Holy Week Services

According to Papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls, the Pope suffered no complications since his February 24 tracheostomy. More good news—he is expected to be released from the hospital in time to celebrate Holy Week festivities, which begin with Palm Sunday on March 20. According to the Associated Press via the Times of India:
… [D]octors have cautioned John Paul not to use his voice too much to ensure he makes a complete recovery.

"I think the Pope will be here for Holy Week, certainly," Navarro-Valls said.

Read more: Pope to attend Holy Week festivities

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Ratzinger: Pope Able to Speak, "Fully Alert"

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger met with Pope John Paul II earlier today and said that he had regained his ability to speak and was "fully alert" while speaking in Italian and German. The Vatican had indicated earlier that the Pope's condition was steadily improving one month after he was first rushed to the hospital. Additional speaking and breathing therapy will still continue for weeks. According to the Agence France-Press via
However, doctors said they believed it may be weeks before the pontiff can properly recover his voice.

"The Pope is doing well, his condition is improving as we said yesterday," Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls told reporters as he made his daily visit to the pope's 10th-floor suite at the Gemelli.

As he left shortly afterwards, he said John Paul II had been "preparing to celebrate mass" in his hospital room.

Read more: Pope able to speak