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Pope on Brink of Death as Given Last Rites after Heart Failure

Pope John Paul II has suffered serious heart failure and is in a very serious condition, the Vatican have reported.
Apr 02, 2005 05:14 PM EST

Pope John Paul II has suffered serious heart failure and is in a very serious condition, the Vatican have reported. The Pope has been reported as being in a "very grave" condition and on the brink of death. The announcement has been released just hours after the Pope was described as having a high fever caused by a urinary infection.

The Pontiff’s spokesperson, Joaquin Navarra-Valla told that the leader of the 1-billion member Roman Catholic Church had a "cardio-vascular collapse" – however, the most recent reports have said that he is now in a stable condition.

The statement also read that the Pope had received the sacrament for the sick and dying yesterday evening – and it was also reported that he had received his last rites.

"This morning the condition of the Holy Father is very serious," read the statement.

However, despite all his troubles, the Pope did attend a 6am (4am GMT) mass today and the release also said, "The Holy Father is conscious, lucid, and serene."

The Pope was given emergency treatment by the Vatican medical team and was reported to have received "all the appropriate therapeutic provisions and cardio-respiratory assistance."

The head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor said, "We are, as it were, metaphorically watching and waiting by the Pope’s bedside, and praying for him."

A spokesperson, Sir Stephen Wall reported to the BBC, "Clearly, what we have heard from Rome is very serious and all of us who watched the Pope on television last Sunday could see the agony and the anguish which he is going through and I think that, in a sense, is typical of the man. People say, well, how can the church be governed by a man who is suffering? The Pope’s message to the world is that he is a witness to suffering and through suffering, redemption: that is the power of his faith."

The latest in a long series of illnesses for the Pope has come just one day after he began treatment through a feeding tube to increase his calorie intake, as he had found it hard to swallow.

However, the Pope’s condition quickly deteriorated and it was later told that he had suffered an alarming fall in blood pressure.

La Repubblica, an Italian daily newspaper reported that the Pontiff had suddenly “turned white as a ghost” as he was working from his armchair shortly before 5pm GMT yesterday.

In addition to this latest health scare, the Pope was admitted to hospital twice last month with breathing difficulties and he also had to undergo an operation.

In the early hours of this morning, as the news spread of the Pontiff’s quickly deteriorating condition, hundreds of Catholics gathered in the square by the Vatican to keep vigil.

The Vatican have reported that by the Pope’s side are his personal doctor, two intensive care doctors, a cardiologist, and ear, nose and throat specialist, and two nurses.

Pope John Paul’s cardiac failure is thought to have occurred as his heart no longer has enough strength to pump blood through the body – hence causing heart failure.

The leader of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church has been a stern opponent of abortion, divorce, liberation theology, homosexuality and female priests – but has also been greatly testified for his understanding and compassion.

Prayers are being given all over the world by those faithful to the Pope, and a host of world media have stated that the world is now awaiting news of Pope John Paul II’s imminent passing away.

Andrew Clark

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