Appearing weakened and tired, Pope John Paul II rose from his sickbed Tuesday to offer belated Christmas greetings after spending the holiday battling fever and nausea.
Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro insisted the flulike symptoms have “almost completely disappeared,” but the 75-year-old pontiff plans two full days of rest. He is taking flu medication.
Illness kept him from celebrating Christmas Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. The pope managed to finish delivering his Christmas message from the windows of the papal apartment overlooking St. Peter’s Square before a wave of nausea forced him to cut short his tradition of offering holiday greetings in dozens of languages.
Tuesday, he offered a shortened list: six languages, including English, rather than the 54 planned for Christmas.
His voice sometimes wavering and lacking force, the pope left out any mention of his health or the abrupt break in his Christmas address.
It was in strong contrast to recent appearances by the pope, who had appeared to be regaining some of his vitality and stamina after a long recovery from hip-replacement surgery last year.