Cardinal Meisner Thinks Pope Will Make It to Germany

John Paul II’s Voice «Stronger Than I Expected»

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ROME, MARCH 2, 2005 ( After visiting John Paul II in the hospital, Cardinal Joachim Meisner said he believes that the Pope will still be able to attend World Youth Day this August in Germany.

«His voice is stronger than I expected,» said the cardinal of Cologne, whose archdiocese will host World Youth Day.

«When he saw me he said: ‘I am happy you are here,'» added Cardinal Meisner.

Asked by journalists about when the Pope might leave the Gemelli Polyclinic, Cardinal Meisner replied: «I am not a doctor; I hope he will be able to leave the hospital soon, and that he will be able to be with us Germans in Cologne in August.»

John Paul II is planning to visit Cologne from Aug. 18-21 to participate in World Youth Day.

«He looked well,» said Cardinal Meisner after his visit to the Pope. «The Holy Father’s visit is very important for me. All Germans are waiting for him. I told him that in Cologne he does not have to speak with young people; it is his presence, the figure of the Holy Father, that says much.»

«From my personal point of view, the Holy Father can be in Cologne in August,» he said.

A new statement on the Pope’s health is expected Thursday from Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro Valls.

Today’s general audience was canceled. Some 500 Polish pilgrims arrived at the Gemelli Polyclinic, including 100 or so handicapped people from Warsaw. They were joined by a group of Polish pilgrims from Chicago.

They sang traditional and religious songs, outside the hospital, under the Pope’s window, on the coldest morning of the year in Rome.

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