Pope gives blessing from hospital window


A frail Pope John Paul II reappeared today at a window of the hospital treating him for his latest health crisis, giving the world its second glimpse of him since he was rushed back to the clinic with breathing trouble 11 days ago.

Wearing his white vestments, the 84-year-old P ope waved and made the sign of the cross to several hundred cheering pilgrims who gathered in the damp chill at a small square with a view of his 10th-floor suite at Rome's Gemelli Polyclinic hospital.

He sat behind the closed window, repeatedly raising his arms to bless the crowd, but he did not speak. He has been receiving breathing and speech therapy at the clinic a few miles from the Vatican after undergoing surgery on February 24th to insert a breathing tube in his windpipe.

With the P ope able to say only a few words with difficulty, the Vatican appointed Argentinean Archbishop Leonardo Sandri to again read out the Sunday prayer known as the Angelus and deliver the blessing to believers gathered at St. Peter's.

"Again today I would like to renew my expression of gratitude for all those signs of affection that have reached me," the P ope said in a greeting read out by Archbishop Sandri.