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Friday, April 01, 2005

Pope 'very grave,' Cardinals called to Rome

The pope's condition has weakened further, and Fox News is reporting that his breathing is shallow and his kidneys are beginning to fail:
Pope John Paul II's condition was critical but stable, the Vatican said Friday, and he was said to be conscious, celebrating Mass and receiving top aides, asking one to read him the biblical account of Christ's crucifixion and burial. The statement seemed to end speculation that the pontiff was comatose, as had been reported earlier by Italian media. Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls (search), at one point crying, said that the pope had requested to remain in his apartment overlooking St. Peter's Square after being "informed of the gravity of his situation."
The Church is preparing for the Holy Father's succession:
The world's cardinals, who will select John Paul II's successor, have been summoned to Rome, a sign that preparations are under way for a conclave, the secretive election procedure that must begin within three weeks of the pope's death. Another sign of the gravity of the pope's condition was a decision by the Vatican to keep open its press office, which normally closes at 3 p.m.

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