12:50 p.m. - 2005-04-01
THE POPE IS ABOUT TO DIE..COMPLICATIONS FROM NUMEROUS ILLNESSES...THAT IS BUMMER
I ,Lydia added this the same day at 5:25 p.m. America Time
Vatican: Pope's condition 'has worsened'
VATICAN CITY (CNN) -- Pope John Paul II's breathing is becoming shallow and several of his major organs -- including his kidneys and heart -- are growing weaker, the Vatican said Friday.
"The general conditions and cardio-respiratory conditions of the Holy Father have further worsened. A gradual worsening arterial hypotension has been noted, and breathing has become shallow," the Vatican press office said.
"The clinical picture indicates cardio-circulatory and renal insufficiency. The biological parameters are notably compromised. The Holy Father, with visible participation, is joining the continual prayers of those assisting him."
The Vatican has denied reports in the Italian media that the pope had died.
Thousands of people gathered in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Friday night for the saying of the rosary. High above the square, lights burned in the papal apartments.
A leading American prelate, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop of Washington, said, "...If my information is correct, is that the Holy Father is sinking."
"We'll pray that the Lord -- who must love this man very much, because this man loves him very much -- that the Lord will take him peacefully to himself, if that's his will right now," McCarrick said.
The pope received visitors Friday, including the Vatican's secretary of state and several cardinals. Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said the pope celebrated a Mass and mediated on the ritual of the Stations of the Cross.
At 7 p.m. local time Friday, a Mass was being held in honor of the pontiff at St. John Lateran Church, celebrated by Camillo Ruini, vicar of Rome.
"In this moment, he is more than ever our pope -- the vicar of Christ --- who livens us with his passion," Ruini said.
At the Mass Friday night, Ruini said the pope was "facing the most difficult test of his long and extraordinary life. He is living with that incredible serenity and he has abandoned himself to the hands of Christ, with whom he has always lived, worked, suffered and had joy."
Italians, Catholics and the faithful the world over have been asked to intensify their prayers for the Holy Father in light of his declining health. (Full story)
In another development, the papal press office issued a list of 17 new papal appointments, including bishops and archbishops, and a list of six archbishops who resigned.
The appointments and the resignations were approved previously by the pope, it said.
The announcements may be an attempt by the Vatican press office to indicate that the business of the Vatican continues. And if the list were to be issued, it would have to be issued now, ahead of a papal death.
Earlier, Navarro-Valls said in a written statement that the pope had suffered cardiocirculatory collapse and septic shock Thursday evening.
According to a Web site of the National Institutes of Health, septic shock is "a serious, abnormal condition that occurs when an overwhelming infection leads to low blood pressure and low blood flow.
"Vital organs, such as the brain, heart, kidneys, and liver may not function properly or may fail. Decreased urine output from kidney failure may be one symptom."
Italian police began closing the streets leading to the Vatican early Friday on expectations that due to the pontiff's grave condition, more pilgrims would come to the area.
Navarro-Valls said the pope was being treated in the Vatican, because it was his desire to remain in his residence and not return to the hospital.
The pope was "being assisted by his personal doctor, Renato Buzzonetti, as well as two intensive care specialists, a cardiologist and an ear, nose and throat specialist, as well as two nurses," the statement said.
On Thursday night, as his health deteriorated, the pontiff received the Catholic Church's sacrament Anointing of the Sick, formerly known as Last Rites or Extreme Unction -- a ritual of healing, a Vatican source told CNN.
The sacrament is given to patients who are seriously ill in addition to those who are near death. The pope also received the sacrament in 1981, when he was wounded by a would-be assassin.
The news of the pope's worsening condition came two days after the Vatican revealed that he had a feeding tube inserted through his nose to provide more nutrition, as he struggled to recover from a tracheotomy five weeks ago.
The 84-year-old pope suffers from a number of chronic illnesses, including crippling hip and knee ailments and Parkinson's disease, a progressive neurological disorder that can make breathing and swallowing difficult.
CNN Rome Bureau Chief Alessio Vinci and Vatican Analyst John Allen contributed to this report.
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