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Pope Reported Alert, Recovering

  • Sabina Castelfranco

Pope John Paul's health is improving and he has begun speaking. A cardinal who visited him in the hospital said he conversed with him in two different languages. But the Vatican has still not given any information about when the pope will leave the hospital.

Vatican officials say the pope is recovering well from his throat surgery last week. A top cardinal visited the pope at Rome's Gemelli Hopital Tuesday and said he found him very alert. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said the pope spoke to him in both German and Italian.

Speaking to journalists about his meeting with the pope, Cardinal Ratzinger said he was pleased to be able to report that the pope is mentally alert and able to say essential things.

The cardinal said the pope would be working on some documents that the cardinal left with him. He and other Vatican officials have said the pope is well enough to participate in mass in his hospital room.

The Vatican's spokesman has also said the pope is doing very well. Since his throat surgery, the Vatican has said the pope has been recovering without complications and doing breathing and speaking exercises.

But there is still no indication from the doctors or the Vatican about when the tube that was inserted last week into the pope's throat to assist his breathing will be removed.

The Vatican says the pope's weekly meeting with the faithful on Wednesday has been canceled and there will be no one standing in for the pontiff. No further details about his schedule or when he will be leaving hospital have been made available.

There is concern that the pope may not be well enough to take part in his busy Easter activities at the end of this month.

Pope John Paul has been in the hospital since Thursday. It was the second time he was taken to hospital in the same month with breathing problems.