Following the death of the Pope, this debate has been closed.
Roman Catholics around the world are waiting and praying as the life of Pope John Paul II, crippled by age and illness, is slipping away.
The Vatican announced on Saturday morning that the condition of the Pope remains "unchanged". The Holy Father's consciousness is "compromised" and he is aware that he is dying.
On Thursday the 84-year-old pontiff received the Saint Viaticum, the Catholics' last rites for the sick and dying.
What is your reaction to the state of the Pope's health? Have you attended a special prayer service for the Pope? Send us your comments and experiences.
You can also email your pictures and video of the Pope and of special prayer services to: email@example.com
The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:
Pope John Paul II won the hearts of Filipino Catholics when he visited Manila twice. He came as a father figure personally concerned for his struggling children. However I've been disappointed by the Vatican's Eurocentric theological trajectory, which has not quite been attuned with the myriad faces of suffering in the Third world and the many hues of religion and culture - especially here in Asia - I am sure many of us in the Philippines still see him as a father figure. We're grateful that we've had a personal relationship with him. We pray that the next Pope will be able to bridge the personal with the theological.
Antonio D Sison PhD, Manila, Philippines
I pray and hope for him to stay alive but if the Almighty God has called him for eternal rest then he must be ready to answer his God's call.
Al-Farouk, Burkina Faso
You have been a true leader and we thank you for making the world a better place.
Tim (12), England
As a Catholic I pray for the Pope, always and of course now when he is suffering so much and is close to death. We say in the Our Father: pray for us, now and in the hour of our death. We have a moral obligation to pray for the Pope. This Pope has meant so much for humanity. He deserves at least the Nobel Prize for peace.
Ingeborg van der Ploeg, Stockholm, Sweden
I was once a seminarian. I think Pope John Paul II was the best we ever had. I pray for his recovery but if it is God's will then thy will be done. Amen.
Rico Samaco, Leyte, Philippines
May I wish the pontiff Godspeed in his journey to the afterlife. Although a non-Christian, I'm touched by the inter-religious solidarity shown by contributors here. That in itself has to be a good thing.
Obinna Ike, Lagos, Nigeria
You taught us how to live and also how to end the life in dignity. Papa, we love you.
Dr Edwin Raj, St Andrews, UK
I longed in vain all these years to meet Pope John Paul II one day. But now I am not sure whether that dream will ever come true. May the Lord bless this outstanding son of the world.
Kurian Mathew, Doha, Qatar
I do not recognise this man who is being described in the vast majority of messages posted. Is this the same man who has set back the human rights of women, gays and lesbians with his inhuman pronouncements on abortion, contraception and homosexuality? Even though the office of Pope is irrelevant to the vast majority of planetary inhabitants and is, at best, anachronistic for those who think it means something, I sincerely hope that he is replaced by someone more connected with humanity and less obsessed by dogma.
Kim Grais, Keighley, West Yorkshire
The Pope was in Venezuela twice. In both of those opportunities we met a great and spiritual leader, capable of filling Venezuelan people with his charisma, strength and faith. I thank God for his work all over the world, for having him between us on earth, and I wish serenity and joy for the Catholic people for his journey to the eternity. Juan Pablo II has already won heaven. We will miss him very very much.
Veronica Malave, Caracas, Venezuela
The Holy Father is a special man. He is God's voice on earth and now he is going home to Jesus. We will light a candle for him at mass with Father Simon.
Matthew (11) and Patrick (9), Portsmouth, UK
I thank the Holy Father for his teachings to the world to reach out to all; even in his passing he is doing so. I pray that the light of Heaven shine upon his face and the Lord removes all his pain. May the world take onboard his teachings that we are all brothers and sisters no mater our colour, religion or nationality. Even if we disagree on some issues we should be able to discuss them but still embrace each other as Pope John Paul II has. Thank you for calling out to all in the world Papa.
Just because the Pope was give the Last Rites does not necessarily mean that the Pope is going to die. The Last Rites can be re-written and I think that as long as we all continue to pray for the Pope's recovery and never believe he will die soon, then he will recover with God's grace. Amen.
Joel Collins, Wolverhampton, England
I love you Pope, I am a Shia Muslim, and I want you to know that you are as loved as I love and respect Ayatollah Al-Sistani.
Adam Bayzar, Pleasanton, CA, USA
I've been in St Peter's Square. You have to listen to the silence to understand the message he's leaving us...
Alex, Rome, Italy
This man was everything to us.
Pope's last moments are very painful for the lovers of peace. The world will remember this great soul as symbol of peace, integrity and brotherhood. He was not only good to Catholics and Christians but equally good for the whole humankind. May God give him eternal peace?
Dr M Ashaq Raza, Asmara, Eritrea
I am a Christian but by no means am I a Catholic; however there is something in the deeds of good men that transcends denomination. I might disagree with his position doctrinally, yet he continually fought for good which is as much as anyone can do, in this I hope he may be an example to us all.
Owen Griffiths, Bradford, UK
This man truly has walked in the Lord's footsteps and has followed the apostolic succession of St Peter with zeal and courage. We admire him in his suffering as we did when he held a Koala in 1986. God Bless this most humble and Holiest of men.
Michael Hunter, North Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Last night every single house was empty. Everyone had gone to church to pray for the Pope. We don't want him to leave but he seems different. Remember that posted note? "I'm happy. Be happy too. I'm leaving everything to Sacred Maiden Maria" - so he actually wants to die and meet God in person. Polish people don't want him to leave... but we can't make him stay. He's getting closer to God every second.
Mateusz Olejniczak, Zielona, Poland
I am a Muslim and I am saddened by recent developments. But it is Allah's will and we all pray that if he is to go, he go peacefully.
Bilal Patel, London, UK
What do you need the comments for? Our Great Pope is going through one life to another. Respect this event and do not cause a sensation, please.
Zbigniew Zdziennicki, Lodz, Poland
We are three teenagers and you are our Pope. We will miss you.
Even if you die, your great actions will remain forever.
High school students Emanuele, Monica and Silvia, Messina, Italy
I had the very great privilege of meeting the Pope in the late 70s at a huge youth rally in Rome. Many thousands of us gathered together, singing joyous songs. Pope John Paul II was moved to see so many young persons. I kissed Pope John Paul's hand and received his blessing. My prayers and thoughts are with Pope John Paul II at this very sad time.
Carole Middleton, Cambridge, UK
As the final hours of his wonderful life tick away and before the curtains of his life close, I can't but think about Jean Paul's II modesty, his wonderful and warm smile. He was close to all different religions. He went to see the poor who couldn't come and see him.
As a Lebanese Christian I would never forget the joy on the day I saw him in Lebanon and even Muslims felt the same way. He is a leader that would come once every thousand of years. It would be hard to find someone who can fill his shoes. Please have mercy on his pure soul and let him be with you in your everlasting kingdom.
Patrick N Chkaibam, Fanar, Lebanon
I went to Vatican and it is a heart throbbing experience as the faithful join in prayer for the Pope. He left us all a wonderful personal experience which lacks words to explain.
Biji, Rome, Italy
Hold on Holy Father, you are not alone in this state; we are all with you in prayers. May the Almighty God who has seen you through your years of life sustain you and if the time has truly come for you to be with Him in his eternal glory, may you be received peacefully. God be with you Papa.
Jude Lagbeneku, Accra, Ghana
I am very sad because we are losing the Pope of the young. God bless you.
Italo, Ripatransone, Italy
I am deeply saddened to hear that Pope John Paul II has received the last rites and that his health is in a critical state. He is truly the bravest and most devoted man in history and although he will be greatly missed, I wish him peace in the arms of Our Father.
I find it amazing, that with the Terri Schiavo debate raging that no one has drawn a parallel to the Pope's situation. He has the luxury of opting not to go into hospital, where they would most probably put him on life support when necessary, and he to could live in a vegetative state indefinitely. Isn't it hypocritical of him, as leader of the Catholic Church, not to himself live by the by all means possible - any state of life is sacred rule? Isn't he fortunate to have the choice that many don't have.
Sally Krantz, Hong Kong
To Sally Krantz, Hong Kong: The Pope is not, like the unfortunate Terri Schiavo, in a permanent vegetative state. He has been mentally alert but physically ailing for many years. Neither was the physically well but brain damaged Terri Schiavo on life support; neither was she 84-years-old. The Pope is simply old, ill, and at natural end of his life. Surely choice is irrelevant in this context? Please examine the facts more closely before drawing weak comparisons.
I am not a Roman Catholic but I strongly believe that the doors of heaven have been opened for the very peaceful soul of the 84-year-old pontiff - Pope John Paul II.
Amudala Satyanarayana, Tirupati, India
I say to the Pope, "God be with you". However I am very much surprised by the reaction of many people from the West who think the Pope is the only person dying today. At 80-something more so. Please why don't you react the same way towards the thousands dying in Africa through HIV/Aids? You really surprise me, people. But to the Pope my heart pains, for I believe you are like your God.
Isheunesu Abusa, Harare, Zimbabwe
I am very touched by what is happening to the Pope. While I know that his health is in critical condition, I still wish he gets out of it. I pray for him so that he goes in peace and with less suffering. As a child, I was blessed by the Pope when he came to my country years ago. Thank you for all what you have done in this world. I believe that the Pope is one of the greatest men of our time. God bless you.
Damien Sholay, Rose-hill, Mauritius
We watch him suffer and it is sad, such a blessed man who has the world's integrity. We thank God for his life.
Nono, South Africa, Johannesburg
While I wish it wasn't true, I fear that the last moments of his holiness are at hand. This world is a better place because of the untiring efforts of John Paul II. As a Catholic I can say we have been honoured to have him as our spiritual leader. Thank you for all that you have done your holiness. God bless you.
Richard Macdonald, Cherry Hill, NJ, USA
I feel very sad that the Pope is critically ill. I can still vividly picture him celebrating the Eucharist on the Mount of Beatitudes in Israel in the Jubilee Year 2000. Indeed, the Pope is a great living saint, a suffering servant of God who has touched millions of lives. God love you, John Paul II.
Linus Lee, Singapore
I am very moved by the courage and willpower of the Pope and his serenity in face of suffering and death. This is an encouragement to all of us in times of facing loss and grief. Thank you for such a positive article on BBC news.
Anne Marie Farrell, London, UK
He was elected Pope months after I was born. I saw him in Poland on one of his first visits. Although I no longer practice Catholicism, I am very saddened to see him go. I have always admired his strength and uncompromising belief in the worth of every human life. His commitment to his values, no matter how much I disagree with some of them, is admirable in this age of world leaders who change their minds with every blow of the political wind. May he have a peaceful passing.
Joanna, Philadelphia, USA
A sad day approaching, I'm not a religious person but I'm feeling sad that such a humble man who gave his love to everyone regardless of religion is soon to leave us and take his chair alongside the almighty. God bless you John Paul.
Alan Richardson, Dudley, West Midlands
I had the opportunity to see the Pope in person when he visited India for the first time. A person with the highest regard for human life. He will be remembered for his endeavours in bringing together various Christian faiths. The holy father has great regard for the human life and values which was reflected in his sermons on various occasions. Some times he was criticised for being against abortion and euthanasia. Never the less he has maintained cordial relation with his detractors as well as with followers of different faiths. The world will remember him for ever for his good deeds and clear convictions on various issues which he has held close to his chest. May God support him in his arms till he joins the eternal father.
Robin, Cochin, India
Having read the comments sent in I find it incredible that so many people of different faiths or no faith respect and indeed love the Pope. To me it reveals how he succeeded in his mission to communicate with all people. Throughout his papacy he stressed communication and love: both seem to have won through. I hope the suffering ends soon and he can be at peace with his maker
The Pope has indeed been a spiritual giant and a great, great leader in many areas. The biggest blot on his record in my opinion is his stand against the use of condoms to combat Aids. He has been quite flatly wrong and there are and will be many dead as a result of his insistence on what he has seen as faithful doctrine. May his successor be as principled and as much a force for good as this man has been, but with the ability to adapt his dogma to the realities of a suffering world.
Rosemary, Copenhagen, Denmark
Everyone one loves him and I bet he is in everyone's prayers. He did a lot of good, he was a good man and loved and forgave everyone. He loved every one of us no matter what religion you are. I had the occasion to see him twice when he came on a visit to Malta, and I went once to Rome and saw him in his balcony. I will pray for him.
Carmelina Degiorgio, Malta
I was there on Easter Sunday to feel the warmth and affection of the multitude of people when the Pope appeared for four minutes at the window in St Peter's Square; he was in tears, so was everyone in the crowd, looking at him. It was a very moving experience. His legacy would be unsurpassed for a long time to come.
Zac J Zacharias, New York, USA
Whatever your views on the Catholic Church, Pope John Paul is a rarity in our group of world leaders, in that he is totally committed to his beliefs and totally open and honest about them.
Neil Small, Scotland
A truly great person full of genuine compassion whose goodness has been the hallmark of his entire life: a serenity reflected in health and in sickness. His impending passing away will be mourned the world over by Catholics and non-Catholics of every persuasion.
Pancha Chandra, Brussels, Belgium
Holy Father may God be waiting for you with open arms. You have been a great inspiration to people all over the world and when they couldn't get to you - you came to them. I will always remember with great fondness the day you visited us in Glasgow. It is a day I will never forget - it was a glorious day in every way.
Kay, Haddington, East Lothian
As an Observant Jew, i would like to offer my prayers on this Shabbat for the Pope and for all Catholics. The current Pope was not only a friend to the Jewish people, whom he helped to rescue while in Poland, but a friend to all humanity.
Shimon Cohen, New York, NY USA
John Paul II continues to teach us even as he falls silent. He is now showing how universal his message is, and how united the Church stands behind him. To him and to all his Vatican colleagues, we say from the bottom of our heart, "thank you!"
JY Man, Hong Kong
Pope John Paul II is a wonderful human being; I am very sad for him. He will be dearly missed in this world. I pray that he is not in any pain and that he dies in peace. God Bless you Pope John Paul - may God be with you.
Bridgett, Houston, Texas, USA