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Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) – June 15, 2009
Vatican City (dpa) – The Vatican announced Monday the retirement of long-time papal personal physician, Renato Buzzonetti, who assisted Pope John Paul II following the failed 1981 assassination attempt and at his deathbed in 2005, before going on to serve the current pontiff, Benedict XVI.
The 84-year-old Buzzonetti, who Benedict has named to the honorary position of Pontifical Physician Emeritus, has been replaced by another Italian, Patrizio Polisca a trained heart surgeon.
The 55-year-old Polisca has accompanied Benedict during recent papal trips abroad, a task that for many years fell to Buzzonetti, a veteran of travels with the globe-trotting John Paul.
In his 2006 book Let Me Go: The Strength in Weakness of John Paul II, Buzzonetti revealed how the Polish pontiff was first diagnosed with symptoms of Parkinson’s disease in 1991.
The fact was kept hidden by the Vatican, which only acknowledged the nature of the pontiff’s illness in 2003.
In the book, whose title is taken from John Paul’s last words: “Let me go to the house of the father,” Buzzonetti also gave a detailed account of the Polish pontiff’s final hours.
He denied claims by Italian pro-euthanasia activists and others that John Paul’s final words amounted to a request to have his medical treatment suspended so as to let him die – actions that run counter to Catholic teaching.
Copyright 2009 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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