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Pope not about to step down

VATICAN CITY (CNS): The latest papal resignation rumour has been officially dismissed by the Vatican, and is a variation on an old theme that had Pope John Paul II eventually retiring to a Carmelite monastery in Poland.

The new rumour, published by the Czech weekly Tyden, said that at the end of the Pope’s August 16-19 visit to his homeland, Pope John Paul will resign as head of the Catholic Church and stay in Poland.

Tyden said its information came from ‘Polish prelates with close ties to the Pope’, but did not mention the Carmelites.

Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls denied the rumours on June 4, citing appointments the Pope already has made in Rome after the Poland visits.

‘For now, he has a dense schedule for the coming months, including canonisation ceremonies and various ad limina visits. New appointments, including for 2003, are being integrated into the schedule,’ Mr Navarro-Valls said.

Meanwhile, Cardinal Joachim Meisner of Cologne also rejected any speculation that Pope John Paul II might resign as a result of ill health.

The cardinal told the Cologne newspaper, Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger, ‘I have spoken to the Pope, and he told me that he would continue his service to the Church ‘until death do us part’.’

Catholic Church Insurance

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