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Pope's Breathing Shallow, Vatican Says - 2005-04-01

A nun walks past a Swiss guard standing at the Bronze Door, a storied portal that for centuries has informed the faithful of the death of a pope, at the Vatican The Vatican says Pope John Paul's condition has worsened.

The Vatican Friday said the pontiff's breathing has become shallow, he is facing kidney problems, and his respiratory and circulatory difficulties have increased.

Earlier, spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said the pope received Vatican officials in his apartment and asked for scriptures to be read. He also celebrated Mass.

Cardinal Camillo Ruini celebrated a public Mass in Rome Friday for the pope.

Officials Friday also announced the appointment of a number of bishops and other church officials.

The Vatican said Thursday the pontiff suffered a "cardio-circulatory collapse" after developing a high fever from a urinary tract infection. Officials said the pope was informed of the gravity of his situation, but wanted to remain at his apartment in the Vatican.

He underwent a procedure in February to ease breathing difficulties.