The Men Behind The Pope

PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP-GETTY IMAGES

STILL IN CHARGE? Pope John Paul II's fragile health has forced him to delegate some of his responsibilities

Ever since the Pope barely survived a 1981 assassination attempt, Catholics worldwide have got used to praying for his health. Whenever John Paul II has a setback — and he's had quite a few in the past 10 years — speculation about his successor ratchets up another notch. So when the Pope was rushed to the hospital last week suffering from an inflamed windpipe, spasms of the larynx and the flu, people wondered how long he would be able to continue in office. The Vatican reported that John Paul was making a good recovery, but with the 84-year-old Pontiff increasingly debilitated...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!