Pope John Paul II was clinging to life Friday as his condition deteriorated further. The Vatican said his breathing was shallow and his kidneys were failing after he suffered massive heart problems.
"The general conditions and cardio-respiratory conditions of the Holy Father have further worsened," the Vatican said in a statement. "The clinical picture indicates cardio-circulatory and renal insufficiency."
The 84-year-old pontiff was taking part in the prayers of aides who had gathered at his bedside, spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said.
MOST POWERFUL Patriarch St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, which has always invoked thee in anxiety and trouble, from the exalted seat of thy glory cast a loving glance upon the whole Catholic world. let thy fatherly heart be touched at the sight of the Mystical Spouse and the Vicar of Christ overwhelmed with sorrow and persecuted by powerful enemies. Oh, by the bitter anguish thou didst experience upon earth, dry the tears of the venerable Pontiff, defend him, comfort him, intercede for him with the Giver of peace and charity, that, all adversity being removed and all error dissipated, the entire Church may serve God in perfect liberty. Amen.
O BLESSED JOSEPH, who yielded up thy last breath in the arms of Jesus and Mary, obtain for Pope John Paul II this grace, O holy Joseph, that he may breathe forth his soul in praise, saying in spirit, if he is unable to do so in words:
"Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I give Thee my heart and my soul."
According the AP this afternoon (CST):
Pope John Paul II was near death Friday, his breathing shallow and his heart and kidneys failing, the Vatican said. Millions of faithful around the world knelt, crawled on their knees, bowed their heads and lit candles to pray for the 84-year-old pontiff.
"This evening or this night, Christ opens the door to the pope," Angelo Comastri, the pope's vicar general for Vatican City, told a crowd at St. Peter's Square, where tens of thousands prayed into the chilly night. Many tearfully gazed at John Paul's third-floor window, wrapping themselves in blankets...
...a steady stream of pilgrims jammed the Via della Conciliazione, the main avenue leading to St. Peter's. Some carried candles, while others held rosaries. Some looked through binoculars or camera lenses at the window of John Paul's apartment.
Police put the crowd at 30,000 during a recitation of the rosary in the square Friday night, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.