.- Canadaâs top cleric says Pope John Paul II has much to teach humanity in his frailty and deserves to remain the leader of the universal Church until his death. Marc Cardinal Ouellet, archbishop of Quebec and primate of Canada, dismissed talk of retirement for the ailing pontiff in an interview with the Canadian Press yesterday.
âAfter the great service he has given us for 27 years, I think he deserves to die as Pope,â he said, reminding journalists that the Pope has âaffirmed several times that he will remain at his post until his last breath.â
The Popeâs hospitalization Feb. 1 has renewed some discussion over whether he should retire.
"We should not see this illness as extreme," the cardinal told the CP, adding that the 84-year-old pontiff still has important lessons to teach.
"He has no physical strength but he has an extraordinary moral authority," Cardinal Ouellet was quoted as saying.
"His role at this moment is to draw attention to the situation of old people, of sick people, of handicapped people who are in his condition, to remind humanity of the dignity of the human being from the first moment, but especially at the end of life,â he explained. âI think it's an important mission."
The cardinal said he received a call from the Vatican yesterday morning, informing him that the Popeâs condition continues to improve and that he should resume his regular activities soon.