Marathon Man

PIER PAOLO CITO/AP

AILING : The Pontiff during his recent visit to Slovakia

Many of his followers were disappointed that Pope John Paul II did not receive the Nobel Peace prize last week, but they have the consolation of a special ceremony in St. Peter's Square on Thursday to celebrate his 25 years as Pontiff. John Paul's health has deteriorated so visibly and dramatically over the past four weeks, however, that many wonder how much longer the 83-year-old can continue his gruelling round of travel and public appearances.

The presence of the world's Cardinals at the anniversary gathering will prompt speculation about John Paul's successor, and perhaps raise fresh questions about...

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