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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 October, 2003, 14:47 GMT 15:47 UK
Pope ends jubilee celebrations
Ring presentation
A cardinal receives a ring from Pope John Paul
Pope John Paul II has presented 30 newly appointed cardinals with golden rings at a Mass in the Vatican.

Wednesday's ceremony in St Peter's Basilica was the last of the silver jubilee engagements for the ailing pontiff who is not scheduled to make any other major public appearances now before Christmas.

The Pope, 83 and suffering from Parkinson's disease, was barely able to speak during the Mass of the Rings and an aide had to address the cardinals for him.

The special ring, which has pictures of Saints Peter and Paul on it, is similar one worn by the Pope himself.

The cardinals, formally elevated on Tuesday, come from 22 countries and are a mix of conservatives and moderates.

A 31st cardinal was also appointed but his identity was being kept secret - probably, correspondents say, because he serves in a state which represses religion.

Pope John Paul wears a similar golden ring
Unlike the Pope's ring, which must be broken on his death, the cardinals' rings can be passed on to their families.

The Mass was moved inside the basilica from St Peter's Square after heavy showers lashed Rome.

Despite looking alert during public appearances to mark the 25th anniversary of his papacy, John Paul II was clearly very weak and barely able to speak.

Tadeusz Styczen, a friend of the Pope from his student days in Poland, told Italian television this week that "the time for speeches [was] over".

"Now we must listen to the silence of the Pope. He speaks to us fully in those silences, eloquent silences," he said.


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