Pope goes back to hospital

Pope John Paul II has returned to hospital in Rome.

The 84-year-old pontiff reportedly has a fever and is suffering a relapse of the breathing difficulties which hospitalised him in early February.

"He had the same symptoms as last time, including fever and some breathing difficulties," a Church source told the Reuters news agency.

The Vatican confirmed the Pope had suffered a relapse of the flu.

"For that reason he has been hospitalised this morning at the Gemelli (hospital) for specialised treatment and tests," spokesman Joaquin Navarrro-Valls said.

An official bulletin on the Pope's health will be released on Friday morning.

The ailing religious leader missed a consistory for the first time in his 26-year pontificate earlier today.

He was first taken to Rome's Gemelli Polyclinic for flu and breathing problems on February 1.

He spent 10 days in hospital and the Vatican had previously said he was making a steady recovery.

On Wednesday, the Pope held a "virtual" general audience, addressing thousands of pilgrims via a television link from his private study.

He was to have appeared at his window to bless crowds in St Peter's Square, but a rainstorm forced organisers to move people indoors.

The Pope was seen speaking in a hoarse voice but otherwise looking well.
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