The Pope is expected to leave hospital later today. John Paul II was rushed to Rome’s Gemelli hospital nine days ago with acute breathing problems caused by the flu. The Vatican’s Chief Spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said the 84-year-old pontiff had overcome his throat ailment. “All medical tests, including a CAT scan, have excluded any other kind of problem,” he said.
“We can say that the Holy Father will return to the Vatican today.” The pope, who also suffers from Parkinson’s disease, briefly appeared at his hospital window on Sunday but relied on an aide to read his message. On Wednesday, he failed for the first time in his 26 years as head of the Roman Catholic Church to preside at Ash Wednesday ceremonies starting the fasting season of Lent.
His poor health has sparked renewed calls for his resignation and increased speculation over who will succeed him.