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Pope's Condition Said to Be Very Serious


The condition of Pope John Paul II is worse. The Vatican says the pontiff is in "very serious" condition, but remains conscious, after suffering what officials called a "cardio-circulatory collapse." Thursday, the pontiff developed a very high fever from a urinary tract infection.

A spokesman, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, says the pope chose to remain in his apartment, rather than return to the hospital where he has been admitted twice in the past two months. He says the pontiff received visitors, and celebrated an early-morning mass with his aides Friday.

The pope's condition was foremost on the minds of Catholics around the world.

In the Philippines, churches in Manila were packed with well-wishers. Father Joseph Echano says, "And whatever God wills for him, the whole church will accept, whatever God wills in this situation."

In Italy, many people in Vatican Square cast their eyes solemnly in the direction of the Pope's residence. Cardinal Lozano Barrigan Javier admired what he calls the pope's courageous acceptance of his mortality.” But he's in peace, in tranquility, in serenity, because he believes, and his faith sustains him, his hope sustains him, to seek the encounter with Christ, is something very beautiful, very, very lovely."

Emotions also ran high in the pope's native country, Poland, where worshippers offered their intentions for the Holy Father.

In Wadowice, the southern Polish town where the pope grew up, people abandoned school and work to pray in the town's church. One woman said, "We all remember him when he was a priest, a bishop, and a cardinal when he came here so often. I remember him as a child. Maybe God will help him this time again."

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