Pope Given Last Rites

Pope John Paul II’s health is rapidly declining, according to numerous media reports, and he has been administered last rites.

Pope Developes Infection, High Fever (LAT-AP)

Pope John Paul II developed a high fever today because of a urinary tract infection and was being treated with antibiotics at the Vatican, his spokesman said. The latest health setback for the 84-year-old pontiff came one day after he began receiving nutrition through a feeding tube. “The Holy Father today was struck by a high-fever caused by a confirmed infection of the urinary tract,” spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls told The Associated Press by telephone.

Vatican source: Pope given last rites (CNN)

Pope John Paul II was given the last rites of the Roman Catholic Church late Thursday night as his health deteriorated, a Vatican source has told CNN.

I hope, obviously, that he will recover. Since that seems unlikely, I hope that he’ll go quickly and painlessly.

It is truly remarkable that the man has held up as well and as long as he has. He took a bullet a quarter century ago and has maintained an incredibly rigorous schedule for a man of any age, let alone one of his advanced years. While I disagree with most of his theology and much of his politics, it’s hard not to admire this man.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. caltechgirl says:

    Don’t forget the Parkinson’s. Many patients lose their battle with Parkinson’s much sooner than this.

  2. auds says:

    Apparently all the Cardinals are being called in to St Peters – this could mean that he is a lot sicker than is currently being reported.

  3. I posted a short essay of the religious meaning of so-called “last rites,” which is an inaccurate name for the sacrament of Anointing the Sick. It’s here:

  4. Joyse says:

    I am a spiritualist, but when the Pope came to our city a few years ago, I could not take my eyes off him. This was televised, and I was mesmerized. I don’t know if it was a case of mass hypnosis, but whatever label, I have to say I felt safe, and kinder, and more loving. When he does pass, he will be missed. I wish all religions could create this type of experience.