BY VIVIANE HEWITT IN
THE VATICAN has denied one of a series of reportedly "reliable" revelations that it has installed special medical facilities in the Apostolic Palace and is making special arrangements to monitor the health of Pope John Paul H.
Since last summer, there has been speculation in Rome that a number of precautions were being taken to ensure that the Pope, visibly suffering this week from what is believed to have been an intestinal chill, has every available assistance. According to Joachin Navarro Valls, the Holy See's cautious spokesman, the 75year-old pontiff's lingering fever had disappeared three days after he began to feel ill, but doctors advised another three to five days of rest.
One report suggested that the Vatican had installed a medical surgery proper in the attic of the Apostolic Palace above the private papal apartments.
Last July, two years after the Pope's operation to remove a benign intestinal tumour, Vatican sources feared for the state of the Holy Father's health when it was rumoured that the facilides included blood transfu
sion apparatus, secretly installed in the Apostolic Palace.
It was also suggested that the Pope made secret visits at least twice a month to a health spa about 40 miles north of Rome, in the attractive walled town of Viterbo, famed for its sulphurous underground springs.
While this is unlikely given the security arrangements it would entail, the reports last summer of a special medical surgery in the Palace attic gained substance this week when one leading Vatican observer here spoke out about the facilities.
However, the report which was published by the Rome daily 11 Messaggero was
promptly denied by Mr Navarro Valls.
He was reassuring the faithful that John Paul II had appeared to have succumbed to a type of influenza and would he fulfilling his schedule.
The programme of events, which included a beatification ceremony last Sunday in the Vatican Basilica of Saint Peter,will go ahead after a postponement of about two weeks.
Last Sunday, Pope John Paul appeared at the beatification ceremony to declare the formula of beatification, although the function was celebrated by the Cardinal Secretary of State, Angelo Sodano.