Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano said the question of &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/cis/2001/09/25/16144.html' target=_blank>Pope John Paul II's resignation due to illness is a matter for the pontiff's "conscience".
"Let's leave that to the pope's conscience," Sodano told journalists when asked whether the 84-year-old pope had considered resigning from the leadership of the &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/society/2002/02/25/26646.html' target=_blank>Catholic Church during his recent health crisis.
"We must have full confidence in him. He knows what has to be done," said Sodano, adding that he hoped John Paul II could reign as the Church's leader for some time to come, writes the Turkish Press.
According to the News.Scotsman, the pope will remain in hospital for a few more days as a precaution, the Vatican said today as the question of John Paul’s possible resignation was raised.
Papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said the 84-year-old pope, who he said was continuing to improve, had no fever, was eating regularly and has been sitting in a chair every day for several hours.
"His doctors have advised him to stay a few more days," Navarro-Valls said, declining to set a date for the pope’s release.
Most Roman Catholic leaders believe the Pope will stay in office until he dies, but Sodano's comments indicated that the ailing Pontiff could yet retire.
The Ukrainian military, who left the territory of the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, declared their desire to negotiate