Pope John Paul II hospitalized
Vatican says pontiff is suffering from the flu
MSNBC News Services
Updated: 5:28 p.m. ET Feb. 1, 2005
VATICAN CITY - Pope John Paul II was taken to a hospital late Tuesday, Italian media reported.
The pope fell ill with influenza Sunday and was forced to cancel all his engagements over the past two days. There was no immediate comment from the Vatican.
The Vatican had already canceled the popeís audiences for the next few days because of his flu. John Paul, 84, came down with the illness Sunday, and doctors advised that he cut back on his activities.
ďHe has joined the more than a million Italians who have come down with the flu,Ē papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said Monday.
The Italian Health Ministry has recommended flu shots, particularly for the elderly, but it was not known if John Paul had one. Vatican officials refused to say, citing the popeís right to privacy.
The Vatican makes brief announcements when the pope takes ill but rarely provides details on the extent of the illness or any medicine he may be taking. He has Parkinsonís disease and crippling knee and hip ailments.
John Paulís voice was weak but he was otherwise in good form during a public appearance Sunday when he tried to release a dove out of his apartment window as a symbol of peace. He chuckled with children who watched in delight as the bird flew back into the room overlooking St. Peterís Square.
The pontiff was addressing thousands of young people from an Italian Catholic organization who marked January as a month to promote peace.