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Last Updated: Friday, 25 February, 2005, 13:29 GMT
Press reflects mounting worry over Pope
World press graphic

Concern at Pope John Paul's health is reflected in headlines across the world.

In the wake of the surgery undergone by the pontiff on Thursday, papers in strongly Catholic countries such as Italy and his native Poland give voice to the anxiety of millions.

Elsewhere there are renewed questions about the Vatican's ability to function with an increasingly ailing leader.

The news [of the Pope's return to hospital] went quickly around the world. Many messages of affection, of participation and of communion with the Holy Father have been received at the Vatican. The universal Church, and that of Rome in particular, once more prostrate themselves before God, raising prayers and supplications for the health of the Holy Father.

Vatican City's L'Osservatore Romano

In the Vatican this time they really did fear the worst, judging by the reports gleaned from those who shared the long hours of suffering undergone by [Pope] Wojtyla following his flu relapse.

Headline and comment in Italy's La Repubblica

The Pope is at the Gemelli clinic again, has a fever again and again has been in danger of suffocation - just as happened 24 days ago. but this time it is all more dramatic than last time, right up to the doctor's decision - a very serious one - to perform the tracheotomy.

Report in Italy's Corriere Della Sera

An operation has saved the life of the Pope.

Headline in Poland's Zycie Warszawy

People are praying for the Pope's recovery in Rome, and in Poland as well. The faithful are praying, for example, before the icon of the Holy Virgin in Czestochowa [the holiest shrine in Poland] and in Wadowice [the Pope's birthplace].

Poland's Rzeczpospolita

Let's not be overdramatic here. Nothing too out of the ordinary is going on. Problems caused by flu, or by anything more serious, will pass and the Pope will return to work.

Polish Bishop Tadeusz Pieronek quoted in Rzeczpospolita

'The Archbishop of Toledo and Primate of Spain, Antonio Canizares Llovera, wishes to address all the faithful... to ask them to pray for the Pope and for the rapid recovery of his health'. Thus Monsignor Antonio Canizares spoke officially for the hundreds of thousands of Spaniards who went to their parish churches yesterday to raise their prayers to heaven.

Report in Spain's La Razon

When he is really ill, the Pope only speaks Polish... In the coming days, the influence of the 'Polish clan' will again be the focus of the discreet internal debates in the Vatican, where part of the hierarchy regard the situation as 'dysfunctional'.

Commentary in Spain's El Pais

With the deterioration in [the Pope's] health, the Vatican's institutional machinery runs the risk of seizing up for a long time. It's true that for years the papal palaces have learnt to live with a sick pope... But his repeated spells in hospital raise the question of his ability to remain on the throne of Saint Peter, and are fuelling conflicts of influence within the Curia.

Commentary in France's Liberation

Brazil's bishops said on Thursday they were concerned by Pope John Paul II's health. They asked the Brazilian people to pray for the pope's recovery ... Brazil is the country with the greatest number of Roman Catholics in the world. Of its 180 million inhabitants, 130 million describe themselves as Catholics.

Report in Brazil's Jornal do Brazil

The illness of Pope John Paul II, who on Thursday was urgently re-admitted to hospital because of a respiratory crisis, has stoked up speculation about possible successors. Two Latin American cardinals... are among those whom the Italian press regards as possible candidates, for their work and charisma.

Report in Nicaragua's La Prensa

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaus abroad.

Pope 'is breathing for himself'
25 Feb 05 |  Europe

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