Pope´s Curtailed Speech Not Due to Illness

ECHMIADZIN, Armenia, Sep 25, 01 (CWNews.com) - Exhausted by a flight across central Asia, Pope John Paul II did not complete a public address after his arrival in Armenia on Tuesday.

However, Vatican officials indicated that there are no special immediate concerns about the health of the 81-year-old Pontiff. After a night's rest, John Paul II is expected to resume his scheduled activities on Wednesday.

Papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said that the Pope had planned in advance to deliver only part of a prepared text. In recent months the Pope, who is suffering from the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, has sometimes asked assistants to read his prepared texts, in order to save his energy.

However, the audience in was caught unprepared when the Pope broke off his remarks (which were delivered in English), and a young cleric stepped forward to read the balance of the text (in Armenian).

The Pope had arrived in Armenia this afternoon after a flight from Kazakhstan, where he had been staying since Saturday. He appeared alert, although obviously tired, and spoke in a clear voice during a short airport welcoming ceremony.

However, later in the afternoon, as he visited Catholicos Karekin II, the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Pope's speech was slow and halting. After stopping his presentation, John Paul II remained slumped in his chair as the remainder of this text was read.

When the presentation was finished, however, the Pope had recovered enough energy to deliver his benediction.

The event at the Armenian Apostolic cathedral was the last scheduled event of the Pope's first day in Armenia. Journalists accompanying the Holy Father said that he had missed a scheduled period of rest earlier in the day, and hoped that he could recover his energy with a night's sleep.

CWN - Catholic World News
25. september 2001

av Webmaster publisert 26.09.2001, sist endret 26.09.2001 - 16:53