Vatican says pope is in grave condition but lucid

Pope John Paul II is in grave condition, the Vatican said Friday, but it said he is lucid and spent the morning celebrating Mass and receiving top aides, asking one to read him the biblical account of Christ's crucifixion and burial.

The critically ill 84-year-old pope appointed a large number of bishops and other church officials, the Holy See said in an afternoon statement that gave no new information about his condition.

VICTOR L. SIMPSON, Associated Press

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