Vatican Gives Latest Report on Pope's Health

Press Conference Held Late Friday

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 1, 2005 ( Here is ZENIT’S transcription and translation of the press conference held today by Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro Valls.

Navarro Valls re-read parts of the statement released in the morning.

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This morning the Holy Father’s health conditions are very serious.

Yesterday afternoon, March 31, as already announced, following a confirmed infection of the urinary tract, septic shock set in with cardio-circulatory collapse.

The Holy Father was immediately assisted by the medical team on watch in his private apartment.

All appropriate therapeutic and cardio-respiratory measures were activated.

The Holy Father’s wish to remain in his private apartment was respected, where in any case complete and efficient health care can be guaranteed.

Late yesterday afternoon, the clinical situation stabilized temporarily, but in later hours it developed negatively.

The situation of the Holy Father is being monitored and watched.

The Holy Father is conscious, lucid and serene. Yesterday at 7:17 p.m. he received the sacrament of the anointing of the sick.

At 6:00 a.m. today he concelebrated Mass.

The cardinal secretary of state (Cardinal Angelo Sodano) and the Holy Father’s closest collaborators, united with him in prayer, are following the developments of the clinical condition of His Holiness.

The Pope is being assisted by his personal physician, Dr. Renato Buzzonetti, by two specialists in resuscitation, by a cardiologist, by an ear, nose and throat specialist and by two nurses.

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Joaquín Navarro Valls then reported on the state of the Pope’s health in the morning.

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The Pope continues to be conscious. As was said a short while ago, this morning he concelebrated Holy Mass.

At about 7:15 a.m., when realizing it was Friday, the day in which he always — at least since he has been a priest — prays the Stations of the Cross, he requested that the fourteen stations of the Via Crucis be read to him. He followed with attention the reading of the texts and I saw him do the sign of the cross in each one of them during the reading of the texts.

Shortly after concluding the Stations of the Cross, he requested that the Liturgy of the Hours be recited, and asked, specifically, that the Third Hour be read to him.

I saw this morning that he received some of his collaborators in his room: I saw the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state; Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, substitute of the Secretariat of State; Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar for the diocese of Rome; Cardinal Edmund Szoka, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Vatican City State; Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, dean of the College of Cardinals; Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, Vatican secretary for relations with states; and Archbishop Paolo Sardi, vice chamberlain of the Holy Roman Church.

The situation at this moment is stable. The conditions of notable gravity continue. The biological parameters are altered. Arterial pressure is unstable. The Pope continues to be lucid, fully conscious, and I must say he is very serene.

Shortly before my coming here, he requested that texts of passages of Holy Scripture be read to him, and he follows these readings with attention. This is the situation at the moment.

I can announce that the press office will remain open tonight. Agencies must know that, if there is news that we consider important, they will receive it through our electronic system.

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Navarro Valls then answered some questions.

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Q: Has the Pope explained why he does not wish to go to the hospital?

Navarro Valls: No. When he was told the real gravity of the situation, being fully conscious, he asked if it was strictly necessary to go to the hospital. He was told that it was not strictly necessary, given that, as I already said earlier, complete assistance is guaranteed. Then he decided to stay in his apartment.

Q: What do you feel at this time?

Navarro-Valls (showing emotion): I think my feelings are of no interest. It is, of course, an image that I have not seen before in these twenty-six years: the Pope lucid, and extraordinarily serene, naturally, with relative breathing difficulty. A new image.

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