Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Pope Sick on World Day for the Sick--Calls 2003 a Difficult Year for the Fate of Mankind

From Reuters AlertNet - Pope has cold, limits role in service for the sick:

Pope John Paul had to limit his role at a religious service for the sick on Tuesday because he was suffering a slight cold, church officials said. Instead of taking part in the ceremony in St. Peter's Basilica, the 82-year-old pope briefly blessed the congregation from his window while holding a large candle.

"It is a great joy for me to greet you, especially the sick among you," said the frail pope, who suffers from Parkinson's disease and has difficulty walking.

Pope John Paul is due to meet Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz on Friday as the Vatican steps up its bid to avert a new Gulf war. A papal envoy arrived in Baghdad earlier on Tuesday for talks with Iraqi officials to try to find a peaceful solution to the crisis.

Addressing the faithful on Tuesday, the pope called 2003 "a difficult year for the fate of mankind".