Feature

Pope’s illness confirmed

The week's news at a glance.

Vatican City

The Vatican this week publicly acknowledged for the first time that Pope John Paul II has Parkinson’s disease, as observers long suspected. The confirmation came as the pontiff celebrated his 83rd birthday. Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re said prayer had kept the pope going since he was diagnosed with the degenerative neurological disorder years ago. “He puts himself in the hands of God,” Re said. The pope marked his birthday by presiding over a Mass in St. Peter’s Square in which he elevated two Poles and two Italians to sainthood. Sitting in a hydraulic chair that allowed him to say Mass while seated, he spoke in a strong voice during the two-hour service, appearing more fit than he had in years.

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