Friday, April 01, 2005

Pope's Condition Worsens, Organs `Compromised'

April 1 (Bloomberg) -- Pope John Paul II's health has worsened, with his breathing ``shallow'' and his biological functions ``notably compromised,'' the Vatican told reporters about 7 p.m. in Rome.

The Pope's blood pressure is dropping, Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said in a written statement. ``The clinical picture indicates cardio-circulatory and renal insufficiency,'' he said.

An unidentified top Vatican official denied that John Paul had died, after the Italian news agency ADNKronos said a brain monitor attached to the pope had gone flat, the Associated Press reported. The Vatican official said there is no such device in the pope's apartment.

John Paul, spiritual leader of the world's 1 billion Roman Catholics, received the blessing for the dying after suffering heart failure and a high fever. The problems developed as the pope tried to recover from surgery Feb. 24 to relieve breathing problems.

Archbishop Angelo Comastri, the pope's vicar for Vatican City, led a crowd of more than 10,000 people gathered in Saint Peter's Square to recite the rosary. ``Jesus will open the door to the pope tonight,'' he said from the steps of Saint Peter's.

Cardinals to Gather

The world's cardinals, who will select John Paul II's successor, have been summoned to Rome, a sign that preparations are under way for a conclave, the secretive election procedure that must begin within three weeks of the pope's death.

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