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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 March, 2005, 11:21 GMT
Pope back in hospital: Your reaction
Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II appeared at his hospital window, and blessed the crowd waiting outside.

The Vatican says the Pope is breathing without assistance, but cannot speak. His traditional Sunday address to the faithful in St Peter's Square in Rome was read by a Vatican official.

The 84-year-old pontiff spent 10 days in Rome's Gemelli Hospital earlier this month suffering flu symptoms.

What is your reaction to the Pope's return to hospital?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

Even in his weakened condition he is still the strongest spiritual voice in the world
Richard, Berkshire, UK
All this talk of the Holy Father of "stepping down" is completely ridiculous and shows a failure to understand that His Holiness is not simply doing a "job", he is actually fulfilling the calling of God. It is not for us to question this calling but simply to pray for the Holy Father's speedy recovery so that he can continue his wonderful work. Even in his weakened condition he is still the strongest spiritual voice in the world and long may this continue.
Richard, Berkshire, UK

The Holy Father is an inspirational figure to most Catholics. If he still feels he can still contribute, he should. All of us Catholics pray for the recovery of our spiritual leader.
Dennis Mwansa, Yokohama, Japan

This man has devoted his whole life to the Roman Catholic Church and has been a true inspiration to all Catholics across the globe. He has said he will not step down from the papal position whilst he lives. However, I would sincerely hope that he might reconsider and spend his remaining time living a better quality of life without the strain of his Papal duties - God bless him.
Marcus Walsh, Lancashire, UK

I am not a Catholic or even religious, but I do admire the Pope and believe that he should hang on to his position until the very end. I have experienced sickness and death amongst my close family members and from that experience, believe strongly that this is such an important part of our lives that we should not hide from it.
Joy Natan, Brussels, Belgium

We are praying hard for the Holy Father's speedy recovery and send our best wishes to him.
The Hall Family, North Lanarkshire

It is now time for a significantly younger man to take the helm and guide the church forward
Ian Cooper, Southsea, England
I wish His Holiness all the best, whether that is a speedy recovery or a painless passing is something I am not qualified to speak on. I am a lapsed Catholic. The current pontiff was a breath of fresh air in the church upon his election, but in recent times seems to have been a lot more reactionary. I feel that whatever happens it is now time for a significantly younger man to take the helm and guide the church forward. We need the church to take a clear, sensible approach to contraception, especially in the third world, if it is to stand any chance of keeping its position of relevance.
Ian Cooper, Southsea, England

When it is time to quit, God will let him know. Would you have Steven Hawkins quit just because he is disabled and unable to speak. The Pope's mind is clear, as God knows. God bless us all, especially John Paul in this difficult time,
Mr KS, England

I wish the Pope a speedy recovery. Pope John Paul II is a God sent to mankind, he is truly Christ representative here on earth. He should still be in charge of the Catholic Church, until he draws his last breath and that will be up to God Almighty to decide.
Malizu Chioma, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Despite his frail condition, there is still very high hope that the Holy Father is still going to recover soon. He is just a wonderful inspiration for all who are optimists, he has given himself unreservedly and the works he has accomplished are just an example of his very dedication and holiness. He is a message of hope and a witness of life itself, his health does not diminish the gift he is to the church, to the world and to all.
Clement Kinyua Gachoka, BogotÓ - Colombia

As Roman Catholics, we should all pray for him. He is now suffering, physically, yes, but his mind is clear as crystal. I believe he is being protected by the Holy Spirit. His papacy should continue as long as God, Our Lord, wants him there. Asking him to resign is as cruel as firing a long time, good functionary when we think he can't perform his duties anymore. That is judgemental and against our faith. I pray for him.
Frank Nguyen, Gloucester, Canada

Believer or non-believer, the pope has spent his life trying to make this world a better place, and I hope he is not suffering. Whether or not he should carry on is not for us to say, it is a decision only he can make. I wish him well.
Jane, Saudi

God still has work for Karol Wotyjla to carry out and his ill health has a purpose.
Ray, London
Unfortunately, the Pope cannot step down to make way for a younger person. Many religions, including the Catholic church, are based on the premise that all acts are the will of God, including human suffering. Fertility is, according to the church, subject to the "Will of God", which is why the Catholic church is so steadfastly against abortion. Having been elected by the "Will of God" to be God's representative on Earth, the Pope can only be removed by the "Will of God". Any Christian person should recognise that the reward for serving God faithfully isn't retirement with continued suffering due to bad health, it is being accepted into paradise to sit with God. While he is still around the Catholic church, if it is to be consistent and not risk being brandished as hypocritical, must declare that God still has work for Karol Wotyjla to carry out and his ill health has a purpose.
Ray, London

All these prayers for recovery are dumbfounding to me. He is human like everyone else, and thus, he must die like everyone else. Why pray against something so natural? I'm praying that he may die in peace. He was a bright star in an otherwise gloomy 20th century, but there comes a time when every great prophet must pass the mantle and go to be with the Lord.
Drew Poppleton, Holland, MI, USA

As a Catholic, I think the Pope is a metaphor for the whole of the Catholic Church; aging, sick, and unwilling to change. I pray that someone new can take his post and bring positive change within the Catholic Church.
Brian, New Jersey, USA

It would seem that his Holiness is nearing the end of his journey here on earth. I pray that he does not suffer and that his last days may be spent in peace. He has been a tremendous influence and one of the main architects of the downfall of communism. The church will go on but while his life is ending it seems inappropriate to talk of his succession.
Barry, London, England

I am astonished at the arrogant and uncharitable nature of some of the comments made here. For as long as he draws breath this frail, elderly man is the Vicar of Christ and the Successor to St Peter, who continues to give strong and courageous leadership to the flock entrusted to his care more than 25 years ago. To write him off as somehow being 'out of touch' and not fit to lead the Church in the 21st century is grossly insulting to the 1.1bn Catholics in the world.
Sebastian, London

Why should the Holy Father step down? Just because he is suffering? In his suffering can we only see what a great character he has... others just give up, but not him! Through his frailty, all His spirit shines even more!
James De Giorgio, Hamrun, Malta

I hope and pray that the Holy Father will soon be well. Unfortunately, he cannot "resign" or "abdicate" because that could create problems for his successor; especially if the next pope were to make some kind of radical or unpopular changes. God will bring him home when his time has come which will be sad for so many Christians. John Paul II is probably one of the most beloved of Popes; people feel they know him as they see him all the time.
Jay Peterson, Philadelphia, PA USA

I hope the Pope will be allowed a few weeks away from the glare of media attention to convalesce peacefully in private.
Caty, London, England

The church has lost complete touch with today's social and spiritual issues and problems. I would like to see a younger and less conservative leader.
BJ, London

Let the man have some semblance of dignity before he dies
Sal Petrarca, Rhode Island, USA
While I do not agree with most "established religions," I cannot stress how much this man has done for the world. He is a great man, but it is time for him to rest. The more he goes on working, the faster his condition is going to deteriorate. Let the man have some semblance of dignity before he dies.
Sal Petrarca, Rhode Island, USA

"I offer my heart-felt and sincere prayers for the Holy Father Pope John Paul II. I pray that he may he recover soon. I pray to God to grant him health". I also thank the BBC for keeping us informed for the changing conditions of the Holy Father.
Hadayat Nazar, Lahore-Pakistan

Although I am not religious, I respect the Pope as a universal figure who reminds people of the world the importance of humanity through religions. The world also needs a constant supply of moral figures (sages) such as Nelson Mandela, Bob Geldof, Mrs Aquino and late Princess Diana, who are not religious-based.
Lisa, Chorley, UK

My respect for the man is immense. His dedication has been matched as has courage to press on in the face of such illness. But, as he would no doubt agree, this is not about him or his ego or his image and the simple fact of the matter is that the best thing for the Catholic Church would be for the pope to step down. He has given more than has ever been asked of him and we are in his debt. However, leadership is more than a willing heart and his broken body and ailing mind are taking their natural course and life, and the Catholic Church, will move on.
Brad Hendricksom, Minneapolis, MN, USA

I wish you father a quick recovery.
Gregory Rofeta, Honiara, Solomon Islands

He should continue his reign until his death, in true Catholic tradition.
Brian O'Hare, New York, New York
The Papal line of succession have been intact for 2000 years, with very little change to its process. There have been ill Popes in the past. This one is just one of the many. He should continue his reign until his death, in true Catholic tradition. Just because we are blessed with modern amenities does not alter the reality of 2000 years of history.
Brian O'Hare, New York, New York

Like all Catholics, my thoughts and prayers are with the Holy Father in his time of need. While I appreciate the sentiment that it is inappropriate to be discussing his retirement, one must not forget that he alone can shift the moral viewpoint of nearly one billion people. This control over people's deeply held moral and spiritual convictions is a tremendous power. With such a power vested in one man, I don't think it unreasonable to require that he be of sound mind and body.
Kyle , New Orleans, USA

The Pope is doing exactly what he wants to do and is still an effective leader. My prayers go out to him and feel that he will recover. His mind is sharp and he should remain leader if he feels he wants to. In the US, Supreme Court Justices are appointed for life, and few questions are asked if aged or ill justices need to retire, so the Pope should continue serving if he chooses.
Matthew, Chicago USA

I am not Catholic, but even as a Protestant, I admire the Pope. To compare him to a CEO betrays a lack of understanding about the pastoral role in all Christian varieties of faith. He has always set a good example of Christian love. forbearance and fortitude in suffering. He continues to do so. To be a minister of God is not a job one steps down from.
Sue, New Jersey, USA

I was fortunate to be in Rome on Sunday and receive his blessing in St Peter's Square. He is a truly holy person, bent by the weight of his duty and destiny. I wish him a return to good health and peace.
Stephen, London, UK

Whenever the Pope is taken from us (and it looks to be sooner rather than later) we will be bereft of a great leader. As a Catholic myself, I am aware of how well respected John Paul II is outside of the Church. He has a huge role in the ending of Soviet Europe, building bridges with the Eastern Orthodox church, and other Christian churches and encouraging respect between other faiths. For half the population he is the only Pope they have known of, he is better known in this non Catholic country than any other church leader. He will be a very hard act for the next Pope to follow. Let's hope he is with us for a bit longer.
Jeremy Preece, Sandhust Berkshire

Pope John Paul II has been the kindest and most peaceful man over his entire lifetime. He has represented the church well and continues to do so today. When Jesus was dying on the cross did we just cast him off? Of course not. I hope we all stand by our Pope John Paul II until God calls him to become part of his everlasting Kingdom. When he is at peace in the hands of God, only then can we consider electing another Pope. Until that time I personally wish him the best from the bottom of my humbled heart.
Brad, Chicago, USA

I am a Muslim, and I would just like to say that Pope John Paul is a symbol of hope, mercy and compassion for people around the world. He is a leader not only for the Catholic Church, but for humanity as a whole. I pray he lives a long life, and continues to provide us much needed inspiration in these trying times.
Arif Shah, Halifax, Canada

I don't believe such a great man should meet the end of his days in a hospital on a life-support machine.
James, Brownhills, UK
Pope John Paul II is a truly remarkable man. He has done much good during his time in the papacy, and has earned the love and respect of all who know him. Despite this, it is a sad, but true, fact that he is a visibly frail and ailing old man who will, in time, die. Praying for his recovery, for whatever reason each individual may have, is asking to prolong the inevitable, and I don't believe such a great man should meet the end of his days in a hospital on a life-support machine. Although I am, myself, not Christian, I do appreciate the sentiments being displayed by all those people who have contributed comments hoping for his recovery, but I would like to say "If you are going to pray for anything, pray for his passing to be peaceful and with the dignity he deserves".
James, Brownhills, UK

I wish him a speedy recovery. He is a man of peace of God, truly one of the greatest people to walk the Earth in the last 100 years. God will give him strength to continue his duties until he dies and he will never step down. Best wishes to you Holy Father.
Martin McDonald, Glasgow

What is it about the Catholic Church that they have to prolong the suffering of this poor man. Without a doubt there was pressure from the curiae to have him back in the Vatican as fast as possible; a sign of the health of the Catholic Church. It's a pity that the Catholic Church's attitude to birth control & HIV/AIDS is not as robust. The Catholic church has long been in denial and this is another example of the church denying a dignified and holy end to the life of an ill man.
John, Berkshire

I am afraid that, despite all the optimistic rhetoric from the Vatican, the Pope must now regrettably be considered to be nearing his last days - A tracheotomy , whilst often a standard procedure for a chronic problems, is a rather desperate measure in an acute illness such as that suffered by the Pope at the moment. The arguments about whether he should or should not resign are likely therefore to be rather pointless.
Mark, Bridgend, Wales

I think the Pope has given a light to the world that will be hard to replace.
John Ritchie, Edinburgh, UK
I feel immense sorrow for this great man. Over the last 26 years in office he has re-built bridges within the Global Christian Community & people of good will. For someone considering a vocation to the priesthood such as myself I think the Pope has given a light to the world that will be hard to replace.
John Ritchie, Edinburgh, UK

For all people of faith, this is a time that calls not for idle speculation, but for prayer. Pope John Paul II has served the Church and the world tirelessly so far, and I am sure that whatever lies ahead, he will continue to exhibit the same personal strength and courage which has marked his papacy thus far. We place the health and welfare not only of the Holy Father, but of the whole Church, in the loving providence of God whose ways and thoughts are far above our own. May God continue to guide all people to the knowledge of 'The Truth'.
Fr. Patrick Rushe, Drogheda, Co. Louth, Ireland

I do believe he cannot retire which is a shame as he is in such poor health. Perhaps the Roman Catholic church should update their laws. As a Catholic myself I think he has done a wonderful job but he can no longer be understood when he gives his blessings so what is the point of allowing him to carry on!
MH, Berks

It would be better if individuals prayed for the Holy Father, as opposed to taking every opportunity to make ridiculous calls for the Pope to resign. After all he is the Vicar of Christ, not the manager of a local supermarket. God Bless our Pope!
Liam Carpenter, London, England

In a time of declining moral values, religious extremism and a culture of fear and terror, John Paul remains the best example of the message of Christ; faith, peace, suffering and sacrifice and love. God be with him now, tomorrow and forever.
Kennet Lambert, London UK

Please pray for His Holiness the Pope. Whether people agree with his government of the Church or not, as the successor of Saint Peter he was given great responsibilities. Praying for someone in need is a duty for anyone who has the Faith.
Colin A, London, England

I was privileged to be at a papal audience in 2003, a very moving experience. I think the pope is a truly holy person who has the right to be allowed to die without tracheotomies, antibiotics, resuscitations and other medical indignities. I urge all Catholics to pray for our Holy Father's Soul.
Sarah Hold, Poole, Dorset UK

I met the Holy Father in his first year when he became Pope, and thanks to God I received his blessings.
Virginia Adelfa Elona, Stockholm, Sweden

I urge all Catholics to say the prayer for the Pope in our simple prayer books. It is God who decides whether he is capable for his mission or not. Miracles do happen.
Marian Thornton, Freetown, Sierra Leone

There is a fire inside this truly holy man that will only quench when he decides
Ed Gallagher, Dublin, Ireland

In the last couple of years, I used to be very much in favour of the Pope retiring. I thought he was old, out of touch and his health meant he was incapable of carrying out his duties properly. I thought all this until I heard him speak last autumn at St Peter's after the Angelus. I can't explain the emotion I felt standing in the square but the sheer power, dignity and presence of this seemingly frail old man is awe-inspiring.

I admit that the Pope is old and physically frail. However, there is a fire inside this truly holy man that will only quench when he decides. And I personally believe that he has earned the right to decide to stay in office as long as God or he himself sees fit. I may not agree with all the Pope's policies but I agree with him. From the bottom of my heart, I wish the Pope a full and speedy recovery.
Ed Gallagher, Dublin, Ireland

God knows his situation and will never abandon him in times of trouble. We wish him a happy recovery.
Clement, Johannesburg, South Africa

I'm not Catholic but he has done a good job and should retire. I say they church should appoint a younger pope with more modern views that reflect modern society and lifestyles.
Craig, Sheffield

He is an extremely brave man and there is nothing undignified about death.
Jo, Hampshire

Surely it should be his decision (and his alone) as to whether he retires or not? Of all people, I'm sure he would be the best to judge his state of mind and current medical condition.
Euan Finlay, Ware, England

Many people seem to be under the impression that a pope cannot abdicate. This is untrue as there are precedents. Several popes, including my namesake Celestine V, have resigned the papacy. [Celestine V was consigned to the Gate of Hell in Dante's Inferno for what the poet called 'the great refusal'.] Other popes who have abdicated include Benedict IX (1044), Gregory VI (1046) and Gregory XIV (1415), the latter ending the Great Schism.

Since then abdication is considered dangerous as it leaves open the possibility that those who dislike the new Pope will claim that there was a conspiracy to oust the old one and a new schism will ensue.
Celestine, Wexford, Ireland

My thoughts and prayers go out to the pope. Wishing him a speedy recovery. I'm thinking of you and I will pray that you will be feeling much better very soon.
John Ledward, Stafford, England

Raised as a Catholic, Pope John Paul II is the sole reason I have remained in the church. I fear that without him, the Catholic Church may become rudderless and I worry for its future.
Anna Diamond, NYC, USA

He must remain Pope to maintain the authority, prestige and respect that office demands
Elizabeth, Bosworth, Missouri
Unfortunately, retirement is not an option for this great man. For him to continue living after the appointment of a new Pope would clearly undermine the authority of the entire Vatican. How can he voluntarily retire from a position whose authority is derived from God? As much as I respect this man and wish for a peaceful end to his life, he must remain Pope to maintain the authority, prestige and respect that office demands.
Elizabeth, Bosworth, Missouri, USA

As a gay male, I have the same amount of respect for the Pope that he does for me. None. Here's hoping a new Pope might help people realize that you find peace from within yourself. Not from within an outdated book you pick and choose what you want to believe from. If he really was full of love, he would love everyone, and stop the spread of Aids by changing outdated policies on condom use.
Paul G, Toronto, Canada

The Catholic Church must ask itself if its future better served by the symbolic fight of a once great man or by the inspiration that a more active and visible leader can create. Think of the people who the Pope has inspired on his international visits. Then think how many people will miss such an opportunity should John Paul II lead the church from his bedroom for a protracted period.
Simon, London, UK

The Holy Father has shown himself to be brave, compassionate, wise and truly holy. I trust him to know if or when he should relinquish his burden and would echo the words of those who suggest we pray for him.
Marie Howard, England

If the Pope's condition gets worse and slips into a coma then where does the church stand? It cannot be seen to have a boss who is not able to communicate his wishes and instructions.
John, Chorley, Lancashire

No matter what one's religion is they should pray for this man of God, but I feel the Pope should be given a chance to retire, in order for him to get the rest he needs. He has given so much to the world, let the world respect that. I'm not a Catholic, but Eastern Orthodox just expressing my opinion,
Philip, Johnstown, USA

He is an old man with outdated views on pretty much anything, from abortion to contraception to gay rights and more... let's hope the next one is a bit more modern!
Stephan, London, UK

In spite of the systems in place, he should be given the opportunity to be human
Stephanie, Rome, Italy

My husband and I met the Pope personally and kissed his ring as part of a diplomatic audience. He is a person with a spirit that shines beyond him, he literally radiates love and peace in spite of the physically illnesses he is suffering. No matter what religion one is, I think Pope John Paul II has been a guiding light to many.

However, we must remember that he is human, and in spite of the systems in place, he should be given the opportunity to be human - whether that means remaining Pope or retiring, and that should be up to him.
Stephanie, Rome, Italy

I understand that the Pope remains as such until his death but I find it quite awful to see a man in such frail health paraded on the TV. It's quite degrading and he should be allowed some dignity and privacy.
Jayne, Rochdale, England

I don't think it is valid for us to comment on him stepping down from the church as I think that this is the strength that keeps him going. I admire him a great deal and wish him a safe and painless journey
Janice Rigby, Denton, Manchester

Although two trips to the hospital do seem like the beginning of the end, no-one should underestimate this man's strength and his will to live. And, yes, though it is painful for all of us to witness him struggle with Parkinson's disease and other debilities of old age, the Catholic Church should stick to its traditions and the Pope should remain in office until the end.
Stefanos, Reno, USA

I saw Pope John Paul II in Denver at the overnight youth celebration. What a bright soul he is! He sparkled anew on that day with every child he met. May God bless and give unto him all that Pope John Paul has given to us.
Jan Swann, Corpus Christi, TX, USA

Apostle Paul was in poor health in his old age but he still continued his mission
Allen Aramide, Warsaw

As long as he is able to take decisions, why should he not continue his mission? You have to look at it from the spiritual point of view. After all anybody that is familiar with the scripture knows that Apostle Paul was in poor health in his old age but he still continued his mission.
Allen Aramide, Warsaw, Poland

I urge all my fellow Catholics to pray for the fast recovery of our Pope.
Benjamin Coloma, Manila, Philippines

The decision of whether the Holy Father should step down or not is entirely his own. He is completely aware of the seriousness of his condition and is shrewd enough to know what he can and can't do. I think instead of speculating over what he will or will not do, I think it more appropriate that we pray for this great spiritual leader.
Peadar R Mackin, Glasgow

It is again sad news that the pontiff is in the Gemelli Hospital. While I wish him the quickest recovery for the coming long Easter services, I urge all of us to pray for him. Stepping down or not is at his own will.
Narsis Mtega, Uppsala, Sweden

I nursed my father through Parkinson's disease - when I see pictures or news footage of the Pope I see so many similarities in their obvious problems. I think the world should prepare for the loss of this dear man - they should also appreciate what a tremendous strain and effort it must be and have been for the Pope to continue the way he has done. I hope it doesn't drag on for him. For those who have nursed anybody with Parkinson's and the associated problems will no doubt wish the same. My heart goes out to him.
Heather, Cheshire, England

It's time the Catholic community came down off their high horse and treated the Pope as any other human being
KJS, London, UK

It's time the Catholic community came down off their high horse and treated the Pope as any other human being, not a person to be paraded like carnival entrant. Would you work your father to the bone at 84? Would you work anyone to the bone with similar medical frailties?

No to both do I hear? Surely the Pope is allowed human rights as with anyone else. Unfortunately, he has no-one higher than himself except for God. Let's hope when his time comes God will open his gracious arms and give eternal rest.
KJS, London, UK

Surely it would be better for the Catholic Church to have a younger healthier man in charge. It would be better for the Pope to be relieved of his suffering by going to meet his maker at long last.
Iain Smith, Falkirk, UK

I believe it is time for the Pope to step down. He has given much and worked all his life, for the cause of the church and life, but now his health does not allow him to go on and the and the pressures of the office are just too great. In any event, I hope He will get well soon.
A Hunt, Brisbane, Australia

Unfortunately his time is drawing near
Paul Rooney, Glasgow

I will never forget the glorious day he came to Glasgow and blessed us all with his fantastic presence. He is a great, great man but unfortunately his time is drawing near. I wish him peace.
Paul Rooney, Glasgow, Scotland

I think they should let the poor guy retire.
Rev S Lemke, Rochester, NY

I hope and pray our beloved Holy Father is well soon.
Teresa McDermott, New Zealand

His strength lies in his devotion to serve the church and this is what has kept him alive. Let the Pope live to serve and serve to live!
Silver Ssebagala, Kampala, Uganda

Frankly you can keep your modern world, I prefer the basic message of the Gospel
Derek Williams, Peterborough

This Pope is astounding. There is much love for him in the one camp, and much opposition and hatred in the other, just like with Christ. Then there is this nonsense about modernising the church and bringing it into the 21st century. High divorce, terrorism, STDs running rampant, family breakdown, mounting personal debt.

Frankly you can keep your modern world, I prefer the basic message of the Gospel that our wonderful Holy Father lives to its fullness and teaches to the rest of us. Long may he continue, and should God call him home, may his successor continue this wonderful work. Praise Jesus for him.
Derek Williams, Peterborough, England

The trusted people around the Pope should request that he hands over the most of the papal works of routine nature to them and then just let him manage the important ones. This would ease the situation considerably.
Dr Misra, Orly, France

Though his body is weak, his mind is still sharp. By suggesting he should retire as the spiritual father of our church, we would be sending a very bad signal to the world. Odd how many cultures value the wisdom such age brings, yet the western culture remains so disposable - if it pains our eyes, remove it. We pray for the health and soul of the Pope and may the beacon he lights remain alight for generations.
Paul, London, UK

The Holy Father is indeed frail, but he is a witness to the faithful in his suffering. Each of us is to carry our cross with Christ. As I recently saw quoted, the Holy Father once said to a friend when the subject of retirement came up "Christ didn't come down from the cross." He left when the work was done.
Emily, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

The Pope has shown courage at this time. In a different way he showed courage in his earlier years. I pray God will bring him home when his work here is done. He has reformed the church in some important ways - for example a greater focus on evangelisation.

Christians can not just make it up as they go along or follow the latest secular trends. Some desired reforms are simply not possible because they are simply not Christian.
Michael Rhodes, Frome, Somerset

Despite the leanings of the Roman Catholic Church perhaps in his twilight we should focus on what this man has brought to our world - kindness, humility, hope and goodwill to billions of people around the globe for a quarter of a century. This man has set an example for all humankind.
Jim Armitage, Pennsylvania, USA

I respect his courageous choice to continue in his job, with the personal hardships this entails
Richard, Bristol, UK

The Pope is nothing more or less than a fellow human being, suffering from typical frailties of extreme old age, something most of us will eventually face. I share the sadness of others for a once vigorous person who now seems barely in touch with the world around him. I respect his courageous choice to continue in his job, with the personal hardships this entails.

My wish is for him to support the freedom for the rest of mankind to choose the manner and conclusion of our final years, including the option for voluntary euthanasia if suffering outweighs the personal benefits of prolonging life. This would be a precious and lasting final act of this man's existence.
Richard, Bristol, UK

It is time for the Pope to go. Let him be replaced by a younger man, aware of the needs of modern life. Let Catholic women have abortions if the want to.
Col Fosk, UK

As an Evangelical, I join in Catholic prayers for the Pope's health, and for the election of another holy and wise Christian leader if it should turn out that he cannot continue in his role.
John B, Sussex, England

I wish he would retire and take things easy for his remaining years
Terence Gaffney, Sunderland

Pope John Paul II is a great man. I hope his health improves soonest. I wish he would retire and take things easy for his remaining years.
Terence Gaffney, Sunderland, England

All this talk of the Holy Father stepping down or whatever is just ridiculous. He is still mentally and physically capable of communicating his will. On this basis he is still able to perform the duties bestowed on him. He is doing a great job of representing to the world what it means to be a Christian in a secular world. May God bless him with the strength to bear his condition and follow in the footsteps of Christ.
AJ, Glasgow, Scotland

The Pope's present condition does not call for this waffling about resignation. All God's people all over the world should join the church and pray to God for a quick recovery. Let me ask: when your Father gets aged, do you persuade him to resign that you may take his place as the Father of the House? The Pope is not only a symbol of God's fatherhood to mankind, but Christ's representative.

The debate over resignation could equally imply deposing Christ or His representative from His seats and office. Let us reason rightly and pray that God's will and His will alone may be done.
Orji Stanley Okechukwu, Seat Of Wisdom Seminary, Owerri, Nigeria.

It's my prayer that the pope recovers soon to continue with his mission. Much of our prayer from Ngomeni Malindi.
Jared Oigo, Malindi, Kenya

The Holy Father has a mission to accomplish and until then we expect him back. He is a charismatic leader of our church and we pray for his quick recovery. We need him back and we are looking forward to seeing him in August in Cologne, Germany for the World Youth Day.
Rogers Michael Kazibwe, Kampala, Uganda

I think that it is time for the Pope to step down, and for the Roman Catholic Church to move into the 21st century, and out of the 1950s. I see the Roman Catholic Church as seriously falling behind, and an ailing and outdated leader will only lead to the demise of the church.
Andrew Davies, Solihull

Yet it is also an example of faith in the impermanence of this life and the struggle we all face
Fr Ivan Boyle, Albrighton, UK

It is difficult to see the Holy Father struggle so, yet it is also an example of faith in the impermanence of this life and the struggle we all face. In this time he is an example of faith - as he has always been, it's not for us but for the Lord to decide when to say well done good and faithful servant come and enjoy your master's pleasure. Till then Lord give him strength for the struggle.
Fr Ivan Boyle, Albrighton, UK

The Catholic Church is now facing the same dilemma as hospitals have to do every day with terminally patients - when to let go. Perhaps this Church needs to introduce the concept of "Consultant Pope" which wouldn't necessarily be retirement but rather someone to whom a new Pope could go to for advice with difficult decisions.
John M, Lyne Meads, UK

This pope has held onto office long after he should have resigned. His views are very outdated, and Christianity needs renewal from an energetic modern reformer.
Edwina Lee, High Wycombe, UK

A true Vicar of Christ. We love him and appreciate his great and distinguished service to the Church and humanity. We wish him speedy recovery. Let's all pray for him and for the human family.
Ernest Salla, Dar es salaam, Tanzania

As a Christian (not a Catholic) I think it should be pointed out to those who are referring to Karol Wojtyla as the 'Holy Father' that this title is grossly blasphemous when applied to anyone other than God. He is a man, frail and fallible like the rest of us. Popes have resigned before, and this one could do so, but that is not the point, whether Catholic, Protestant or Orthodox we should pray for his health.
Alastair, Plymouth, UK

If God really cared about the Catholic Church, he probably would allow this guy to die so he could be replaced with someone more able to respond to the changing times.
Alfredo, Milan, Italy

The Pope's age and present condition does not affect his fulfilment of the Petrine Ministry
Rev Jones, Washington DC
The Pope's age and present condition does not affect his fulfilment of the Petrine Ministry. He is not a CEO, nor President of a Corporation. This is a common misunderstanding of the office of the bishop of Rome. In fact, John Paul's visible decline and acceptance of suffering with such dignity and courage places squarely before the world an image of how, for the Christian, suffering and debility does not equal the end or uselessness, but rather a new way of looking at life. The Pope has always championed human rights, in his last years he draws unique focus to the inalienable dignity of the sick and elderly, an aspect of human life that many in the West would rather ignore preferring to airbrush out that which is not "Hollywood beautiful"
Rev Gareth A Jones, Washington DC

The Pope is fearful of what 'others' may be able to achieve if he goes. I hope he will disappoint them all and stay with us for a lot longer...
Wendy Ashton, Sutton, Surrey

Pope John Paul should step down now, he is a lovely man, but no other profession would allow someone so old and frail to continue in their work. Surely being the head of the Roman Catholic Church requires a great deal of stamina to carry out the massive responsibilities that go with the position.
Pauline, Liverpool England

Unlike other positions you cannot just stop being the Holy Father. His role and service is controlled only by God. God will therefore continue to support him both now and for ever.
Christian Believer, Southampton, UK

It would be meddlesome to prolong artificially the life of one so chronically ill and frail
Philip, Essex, UK
The re-admission to hospital of the Holy Father, raises an important ethical and moral question - should his condition worsen to the point of complete respiratory failure, will he be subjected to intensive care management, including artificial ventilation? My own view is that it would be meddlesome to prolong artificially the life of one so chronically ill and frail. I suspect that this issue has already been discussed and agreed, within the walls of the Vatican.
Philip, Essex, UK

It is clearly time to find another Pope, physically able to implement reform and guide the church through the 21st century.
Arnold, Mississauga, Canada

I am a Muslim and I appreciate the Pope's job during this period of serving, but I guess it is now time for him to resign and introduce someone else as his successor for another period.
Hussinyar Mohammad Salim, Trieste, Italy

But this is his life and his calling and I guess he must fulfil his duty to his Church. I don't think he would have it any other way. Pope John Paul II shares the same birthday exactly as my late mam, 18th May 1920 and she took a great interest in his well being and I know she would say he is very tired and now needs his rest.
J Walker, Cumbria, UK

It may be traditional for the Pope to remain in office until death, but this is the 21st century and it is well beyond reason to have a highly disabled 84-year-old in this position. Traditions can, and often should, change. Mind you this Pope has been a force against modernisation and reform in the Church, so it will hardly happen.
William Allen, Belfast, UK

Instead of debating whether he should retire, let us pray for him
Dominic, UK
Whilst many see the Pope's role simply as a job from which he might resign or retire, it should be remembered that the word 'pope' comes from the Greek word 'pappas', meaning 'father'. Whilst John Paul II might be able to delegate certain responsibilities within the administrative life of the Church, he cannot resign or retire from being a father any more than any other dad can. As our father under God, we should ask God to continue to pour out His blessings on the Pope until the last moment of his natural life. Instead of debating whether he should retire, let us pray for him.
Dominic, UK

The Pope's suffering is consistent with those who became saints after they passed away. It is a blessing. God grant him the courage.
Chinedu Anukwu, Nigeria

My thoughts and prayers are with the Holy Father. Such a great man that has given so much to so many for so long.
Jonathan Parr, Sheffield, UK

For Christians, burdens, suffering and going on in their condition are part of the journey. Would you have Jesus stop short of death on the cross?
Charles Barton, Toronto, Canada

We pray daily for the Holy Father, that he may regain his health and that God may give him the strength and courage he needs to continue his role as our Spiritual father.
Sr M Rosalyn Novelo, SAC, Belize City, Belize

He has lead the church with constancy
Jacob C Kelly, USA
My most sincere prayer goes out to all those who love this gentle and wise man. He has lead the church with constancy. He has run the good race. Whatever happens, I'm certainly glad to have been a Catholic in his time.
Jacob C Kelly, Richmond, VA, USA

The crucial point here is that the Pope doesn't want to be released and I'm sure doesn't appreciate the media trying to write him off. Yes, it is upsetting to see him so frail but as long as he sees fit to continue then let's just wish him well and stop trying to force him out. Our thoughts are with him.
Sarah, Epsom, Surrey

Long Live the Pope! Niech Zyje Papiez! My prayers are with you. As a kid, I had the great privilege of attending mass given by the Pope, and then being blessed by him. Hearing his message of love, peace, and faith during Toronto's World Youth Day reassured me of not only the symbolic value of the Pope as the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, but also of his continuous relevance, strength in spirit, and inspiration.
Barbara Boczkowska, Montreal

All Catholics and believers must continue praying for his recovery
Katongo, Kitwe, Zambia
All Catholics and believers must continue praying for his recovery. It is this time of Lent that people like him go through sickness as a way of reparations for the conversion of sinners. His appointment came from God and it is only God who will decide on his end of service. Let us all pray for him to persevere.
Katongo, Kitwe, Zambia

I wish good health to the Pope, but the appointment is supposed to be held by at least sane, adequate and whole "leader".
Evgeniy, Moscow

I think that he has done a good job, but it is time for the cardinals to begin the process of selecting another Pope
Timothy, Baltimore, USA

It is upsetting to see the Holy Father struggling like this. He has given long and devoted service to the Church, surely the time has now come for him to be released from the burdens of his office.
Brendan Quirke, St Helens, UK

I hope the Holy Father will soon be well again. He is much loved.
Teresa, Cospicua, Malta

I've got to say I think it's time for this Pope to step down. Sure he's done a good job but why go on in his condition?
Marc Woodhall, Derby England





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