Pope John Paul II's Last Words

** FILE ** The body of Pope John Paul II lies in state in the Clementine hall at the Vatican, Sunday, April 3, 2005. The Vatican announced that John Paul died at 21:37 local time Saturday, April 2, after a long struggle against debilitating illness. He was 84. Pope John Paul II's last words, mumbled weakly in Polish, were: "Let me go to the house of the Father," according to a Vatican account of the pontiff's final days. (AP Photo/Massimo Sambucetti, pool)
AP
Struggling to breathe, Pope John Paul II mumbled his final words weakly in Polish: "Let me go to the house of the Father." Six hours later, the comatose pontiff died, the Vatican says.

The account of John Paul's final hours appears in a meticulously detailed official report on his last weeks just released by the Vatican in what might be an effort to ward off any doubts about how forthcoming it has been about his illness and April 2 death.

There was much speculation in past decades over how some pontiffs died and what caused their end.

John Paul I's brief tenure of 33 days as pope in 1978 spawned conspiracy theories that he did not die naturally in his bed, as the Vatican said. Some wondered if he had information about a scandal involving the Holy See's bank.

While no one has publicly suggested anything amiss about John Paul II's final hours, the Vatican said nothing for years when it was apparent to observers that the globe-trotting pontiff was suffering the symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

The Vatican already revealed many of the details in the new report, but the 220-page volume provides more description of John Paul II's decline. It went on sale at the Vatican in recent days, the Holy See's publishing house, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, said Saturday.

The book, published as a supplement to the Vatican's official journal, has entries in chronological order, starting with Jan. 31, the day the Vatican's press office announced that the pope's audiences were being suspended because he had flu symptoms.

It chronicles John Paul II's symptoms, care and response to treatment during two hospitalizations and then during his last days in his Vatican City apartment.