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Pope celebrates mass in plaster

Italy, July 18 – Pope Benedict XVI slept well and celebrated his regular daily mass Saturday with his wrist in plaster, the day after his operation on the fracture, his spokesman said.

"He is learning to live with a right wrist in plaster," Federico Lombardi told AFP. "The most difficult thing for him is having to give up writing."

Lombardi said the 82-year-old pontiff, who is on a two-week holiday in northern Italy, would fly by helicopter on Sunday as planned to Romano Canavese, in the neighbouring Piedmont region, to recite the evening Angelus prayer.

Some 10,000 people are expected at the ceremony in the town, the birthplace of Vatican number two Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

Lombardi said the rest of the pope’s programme during his vacation, which is due to end on July 29, was also unchanged.

The German-born pope, head of the Roman Catholic Church since April 2005, had two metal pins inserted into the broken bone in a "routine" operation under local anaesthetic at Aosta hospital on Friday.

He had slipped and fallen in his bedroom during the night, a Vatican statement said.

Benedict’s personal physician, cardiologist Patrizio Polisca, said routine tests found that the pontiff’s general health was good.

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