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Pope John XXIII in Poor Health

May 27, 1963 - Pope John XXIII showed a slight improvement today and insisted on discussing church matters with Secretary of State Amleto Cardinal Cicognani against the wishes of his doctors. But although the 81-year-old Pontiff had rallied after the latest series of hemorrhages yesterday, fears continued that his strength was ebbing. One source close to the papal household reported that the Pope had commented a few days ago: “I know what I have. I also know that I have only three or four weeks of life.” The recurrent hemorrhages are caused by cancer of the stomach, according to reliable sources. A team of doctors remained with the Pope through the night ready to administer more blood transfusions. Outside the palace, crowds prayed. Doubts arose about a meeting with President Kennedy late next month, but there was still hope that with complete rest the Pope might regain enough strength. The President is going to Italy, Germany, and Ireland in June. He changed his plans only a few days ago to add the meeting with the Pope.


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