by Steven Ertelt
March 31, 2005
The Vatican (LifeNews.com) — As the leader of the Catholic Church, Pope John Paul II has been a strong advocate for the right to life of those who are threatened by abortion and euthanasia. On the day Terri Schiavo passed away, the pontiff has come down with a severe fever and infection and some are concerned he doesn’t have long to live.
Vatican officials confirmed Thursday that the Pope is bring treated for high fever due to a urinary tract infection.
"The holy father today was hit by a high fever caused by an infection of the urinary tract,” Vatican spokesman Ciro Benedettini said in an interview with the Associated Press. "Appropriate antibiotic therapy has begun.”
The Pope, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, saw his condition worsen on Thursday, according to the Italian news agency Apcom, which reported doctors were called to check him because of a "worrying" drop in blood pressure.
According to a CNN report, the 84 year-old Pope was given a sacrament used to anoint and offer healing for the sick, which used to be called the last rites.
Yesterday, the Catholic leader had a feeding tube inserted in his nose to provide him with food and water and church officials indicated he may have problems swallowing food.
The Pope has spoken only once in public since undergoing a tracheotomy late last month, and appeared a brief time at a window and made a sign of the cross.
Pope John Paul II has long been lauded for his active role in defending the church’s pro-life views.
In his most recent remarks, delivered last month from his hospital bed, the Pope declared a pro-life day in Italy and told Catholics worldwide to continue defending the sanctity of human life.
"One must have confidence in life," Pope John Paul II told faithful Catholics in an address read by Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, substitute of the Vatican Secretariat of State.
"Confidence in life is demanded silently by children who are yet unborn," the Holy Father said. "Confidence is also asked by so many children who, remaining without a family for different reasons, need a home that will receive them through adoption or temporary custody."
The "challenge of life" is "the first among the great challenges of humanity today," he added.
The Pope urged "Catholics and people of good will to defend the fundamental right to life, in respect of the dignity of every human person."