.- Pope John Paul II's current health should not affect his ability to lead the Catholic Church, Chicago archbishop Francis Cardinal George said Sunday in an interview with “Fox News Sunday.” Cardinal George said the physical disabilities of the Pope are not a concern in his ability to govern. He said the Pope’s “ability to make the major decisions is still obviously very much with him.”
Cardinal George admitted that it “would create a different kind of problem” if the Pope were to fall into a coma.
"And there may be something that we're not yet aware of in Rome to take care of that situation," he added.
The 84-year-old pontiff underwent an emergency tracheotomy last week. It was the second time the Pope was admitted to the hospital for breathing problems in the last month.
Yesterday, he skipped his usual Sunday blessing for the first time in his pontificate due to his health. But he made a remarkable gesture by waving to the crowds from his hospital window.
Cardinal George told “Fox News Sunday” that he has begun to think and pray quietly about John Paul’s successor.
"As his health weakens, naturally it would be irresponsible not to think about that, at least in your own heart and in your own prayers," Cardinal George said. "But I think you have to start, not with people, but rather what are the challenges to the mission of the Church.”