John Paul II considered quitting in 2000 as his health failed

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Pope John Paul II was on the brink of resigning in 2000 because of his poor health and considered changing Church law to allow popes to quit at 80, it emerged yesterday.

The revelations came in a new book by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, the Pope's personal secretary for nearly four decades.

In A Life with Karol, which will be published initially in Polish and Italian on January 29, Cardinal Dziwisz, a fellow Pole, reveals that John Paul II called a meeting of his closest colleagues in the millennium year to discuss his resignation.

During the meeting, at which Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, was present, the Pope discussed whether his increasing frailty because of Parkinson's disease meant that he should step down as pontiff.

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