VATICAN CITY (CNS): For the first time since his hospitalisation on February 1, Pope John Paul II delivered his regular Sunday talk to pilgrims and reinforced his commitment to the papal ministry.
The Pope spoke from his apartment window on February 20 in a relatively strong but hoarse voice, interrupted once by a cough.
He looked animated as he waved to the crowd and greeted several thousand people gathered in St Peter’s Square below.
The 84 year-old pontiff was slowly resuming his schedule as he continued to recover from a flu-related respiratory inflammation.
The Pope said the papal ministry was summed up when Christ told St Peter, “Feed my sheep”.
“I feel in a particularly deep way these words of Jesus when I contemplate the eucharistic mystery. To him, the Good Shepherd, I entrust the entire people of God in this Lenten path toward Easter,” he said.
The Pope’s comments were immediately seized upon in the Italian media as evidence that he had rejected the possibility of resigning the papacy.
As with earlier illnesses, the Pope’s latest illness – combined with comments from various cardinals – prompted speculation about possible eventual resignation.