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Pope to Stay in Hospital at Least Until Thursday


Pope John Paul is not well enough to leave the hospital, although his health has been getting steadily better. One day after the pope appeared in the window at the hospital, looking frail but rested, the chief Vatican spokesman, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, gave details about the pope's condition.

"The Holy Father continues to improve the general condition of his health. He has not anymore fever. He can eat regularly," he said.

Dr. Navarro-Valls also said the pope sits in a chair for several hours every day in his hospital room, and he also reads the newspapers.

The spokesman added that the pope is receiving a huge number of messages, and he remembers everyone in his prayers. He also said the pope celebrates mass every morning in the hospital, and has asked the hospital staff to join in.

The pope appeared in the hospital window Sunday to give his blessing. He spoke with great difficulty, and many people are wondering whether he will be able to read his messages and homilies again.

The pope has had to cancel all his appointments since he was taken to hospital six days ago, including a scheduled meeting with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Tuesday. Also, for the first time in his papacy, he will not be celebrating Ash Wednesday at the Vatican.

A scheduled service dedicated to the World Day of the Sick Friday, also looks likely to be canceled. Dr. Navarro-Valls did not confirm this, but said it will depend on what the doctors say.

The pope's anesthesiologist, Corrado Manni, was quoted in the Italian newspaper La Repubblica as saying that the pope's health is improving, but relapses are expected to become more and more frequent.

The Vatican has said it will issue the next medical bulletin on Thursday.

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