by 1'iviane Hewitt in Rome A NEW biography of Pope Paul VI confirms that he contemplated resigning if ill health prevented him from leading the church.
Paul VI, by radio journalist k% titer and Augustinian, Fr Carlo Cremona, relates that the Pope's constant fear of invalidity was behind his repeated requests to his doctors to tell him when they felt he could.no longer actively serve as pontiff. When in 1976, two years before his death, doctors
advised him not to attend the Eucharistic Conference that year, Paul replied: "if the Pope can't travel, then he should let go. . ."
Paul I// also reveals another side to the aristocratic north Italian pontiff, a marquis by birth and the author of one of the most debated encyclicals this century, Humanae vitae. According to Fr Cremona, he had a keen sense of humour and once sent a newly elevated cardinal a gift-wrapped kitten in a basket complete with white and yellow ribbon.