Pope's Suffering

Vatican sees courage in pope's suffering

The Vatican is crafting the pope's suffering into a message of hope for the world. Pope John Paul was young and vigorous when he assumed the papacy. He was once called "God's athlete." But the 84-year-old now suffers from Parkinson's disease and crippling knee and hip ailments. He was rushed to the hospital with breathing problems yesterday for the second time in three weeks, and underwent a tracheotomy. The Vatican newspaper has suggested the pope is sharing in Christ's suffering -- saying his "bed of pain" has become a "cathedral of life." One cardinal calls it a "real example of how to accept human suffering." But some question how long a pope who once skied and hiked can guide the one billion world Catholics when his voice is silenced and he can no longer walk. He has already cut back on foreign travel and leaves more and more business to aides.