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Pope Recovering from Surgery for Breathing Problems

Pope John Paul is spending the night in a Rome hospital after an operation to ease breathing problems.

Doctors at Rome's Gemelli Hospital performed a tracheotomy, in which they cut a hole in the pope's neck and inserted a breathing tube, on Thursday night. He had been hospitalized earlier in the day for the second time this month.

Vatican officials say the 30-minute operation was a success and that the pope was conscious after surgery. An aide to Italy's prime minister said the pope waved at doctors after the operation, but was warned not to try to talk.

The pope spent 10 days in the hospital earlier this month for breathing problems and the flu. He also suffers from Parkinson's disease, which also causes breathing difficulties.

Catholics worldwide have been visiting churches to pray for the pontiff.

President Bush issued a statement wishing the pope a speedy recovery and a return to the service of the church and all humanity.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.