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Germany

Cardinal Urges Pope to Visit Cologne

A German cardinal who met Pope John Paul II in his hospital room in Rome on Wednesday said he had urged the ailing Pontiff to keep his appointment to attend Catholic World Youth Day celebrations in Cologne next August. Cardinal Joachim Meisner, Cologne's archbishop, told reporters the Pope "had a much stronger voice than I expected," and had said he was happy the cardinal was there. "I told him it was very important that he make the visit to Cologne in August," Meisner told journalists at the Gemelli hospital where the 84-year-old Pope has spent the last seven days recovering from a throat operation to ease breathing difficulties. "Everybody is waiting for the Holy Father to be in Cologne in August, and I told him that it isn't necessary to speak with many young people but it is important that he be present," said Meisner. The Vatican had already pencilled in the trip to Cologne next August, but John Paul's II's second hospitalization in a month has cast doubt on whether he would be well enough to make what would be his 105th foreign visit as pope.

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