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Vatican Says Pope's Health Continues to Improve

The third medical bulletin issued on the Pope's health since he was hospitalized says the pontiff has begun eating normally as his health continues to improve. But the Vatican did not confirm whether the Pope would make his weekly address to pilgrims from the hospital on Sunday.

The Vatican said Friday the Pope's recovery is proceeding well from the flu that forced his hospitalization three days ago. As the world watched and waited for news about his health, the Pope spent another restful night in Rome's Gemelli hospital.

The Vatican's spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls met with journalists again Friday and said that every day he visits the hospital in the morning for about two hours. He meets with doctors to see how the Pope's health is progressing.

The Holy Father's health condition is improving, Dr. Navarro-Valls told journalists adding, that the Pope is taking food normally. Dr. Navarro-Valls said clinical and laboratory tests confirm that the overall condition has stabilized.

The Vatican spokesman said there was a "favorable evolution" in the breathing troubles suffered by the Pope earlier in the week. He said the Vatican felt this steady improvement did not justify issuing another medical bulletin until Monday.

But Dr. Navarro-Valls, while acknowledging how much importance the Pope places on his Sunday appointment with the faithful, did not confirm that the Pope would make his blessing from the papal suite in the hospital.

The spokesman said that the Pope would be following live on television from his hospital suite, a ceremony for the Madonna of Faith which will take place Saturday afternoon at the Vatican and that he was to have attended. The Pope's message will be read by one of his aides.

Pope John Paul II, who was taken to hospital Tuesday night with a breathing crisis, is expected to stay in hospital for at least one week.

Dr. Navarro-Valls cut short speculation about who is running the Catholic Church while the Pope is recovering in hospital. In response to a question from a journalist, the spokesman said, "If there are things that need a decision by the Holy Father, it is the Holy Father who will make that decision."