The Vatican says Pope John Paul II’s medical condition has stabilised following hospital treatment. Earlier his official spokesman spoke to reporters, after the 84-year-old Pope spent the night in Rome’s Gemelli hospital, where he was taken with breathing difficulties. Joaquin Navarro-Valls said: “I think everyone should stay calm because today there is no reason for alarm.”
He added that the pontiff had taken part in a mass from his hospital bed this morning. He has been suffering from a bout of influenza. On Sunday he was forced to cancel all engagements for several days, although he did make his regular midday appearance at his window overlooking St.Peter’s Square.
The Vatican says he suffered an acute attack of laryngospasm, a blockage of air to the lungs, on Tuesday. He is also known to suffer from Parkinson’s Disease which can complicate his present condition. The state of health of the spiritual leader of the world’s Roman Catholics dominated the front pages of today’s Italian press. Today the Pope missed his weekly audience for the first time since September 2003, when he had an intestinal ailment.