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Published: Saturday, 9/17/2005

Vatican publishes account of John Paul II s final days, last words


VATICAN CITY Pope John Paul II s last words, mumbled weakly in Polish, were: Let me go to the house of the Father, according to a Vatican account of the pontiff s final days.

The Vatican publishing house has produced a 220-page volume, with entries in chronological order starting Jan. 31, the day the Holy See s press office announced that the pope s audiences were being suspended because he had flu symptoms. John Paul died April 2.

The publishing house said today that the volume, which can be purchased at the Vatican, went on sale in recent days

Many of the details in the account have been revealed by the Vatican already, but the volume provides even more. Its publication might be an effort by the Vatican to try to ward off any doubts about whether the Holy See has told all about the pontiff s death.

There was much speculation in past decades over how some of John Paul s predecessors have died, notably John Paul I, who was pope for only 33 days in 1978 before dying in his Vatican apartment.

The new Vatican account covers John Paul s symptoms, care and response to treatment during two hospitalizations and his last days in his Vatican City apartment as he approached death.

Six hours before his death and roughly 3 hours before going into a coma, John Paul said in Polish, with a very weak voice and with mumbled words, Let me go to the house of the Father, the Vatican account said.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com.

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