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Pope Returns to Vatican After 9 Days in Hospital

  • Sabina Castelfranco

The Vatican announced Thursday that after more than a week in the hospital, Pope John Paul II has recovered and will be returning to the papal apartment. But no information was provided as to the pope's schedule in the coming days.

Chief Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said the 84-year-old pope has been cured from the breathing crisis which led to his urgent hospitalization.

Dr. Navarro-Valls also said the pope's general health condition continues to improve. He said a series of medical tests on the pope, including a CAT scan, showed he was not suffering from any other medical problems.

But the Vatican did not provide any details about the pope's schedule after his return from the hospital.

It remains unclear whether he will be present for a blessing at Friday's service in the Vatican for the Day of the Sick and whether he will resume his daily private audiences and twice-weekly public appearances on Sundays and Wednesdays.

The Vatican spokesman said the pope would take a look at his schedule and then decide with his doctors.

The pope's return to the Vatican coincides with the start of Lent, during which he has no public ceremonies scheduled. The pope will have 40 days to recover his strength before Easter.

Pope John Paul spent nine days in the hospital recovering from breathing problems linked to the flu.