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Vatican Announces Pope Will Not Give Sunday Blessing from Hospital

  • Sabina Castelfranco

A Vatican statement Saturday morning made it clear the pope will not appear at the window of his hospital room for the traditional Angelus prayer and blessing to the faithful.

The pope's message to the faithful will be read at noon by one of his aides, Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, from Saint Peter's Square. The archbishop will also give the pope's blessing to those gathered in the square.

Pope John Paul will follow the traditional address from his hospital room.

Doctors had advised the 84-year-old pope not to speak for several days as he recovers from a tracheotomy on Thursday evening to help him breathe better. During the surgery, doctors inserted a breathing tube in the pope's throat.

Experts say it could take weeks before the head of the Roman Catholic Church is again able to utter some sound.

The increasingly frail pope was rushed to the hospital Thursday morning because he was having trouble breathing - the second such problem in less than a month. After discussing his condition with his doctors, the pope agreed to the tracheotomy.

The pope's second night in the hospital reportedly was a calm one as he continues his recovery. The lights were off in his room, indicating the pope was resting peacefully.

Concern remains about the pope's health condition even though the Vatican has said the pope is breathing better now that he has had surgery. Pope John Paul is reported to be on strong antibiotics to avoid any infections.

No indication has been given as to how long the pope will remain in the hospital.

The pope's anesthesiologist, Dr. Corrado Manni, has said this time he could be in the hospital for longer than the 10 days he spent during his earlier hospitalization this month.

Dr. Manni says that last time doctors managed to avoid carrying out a tracheotomy but this time it became necessary because of the pope's general health, his age and the fact that he suffers from Parkinson's disease. The condition causes muscle tremors, rigidity and other health problems.