Skip to comments.Frail Pope Says He Will Serve To The End 'Like Jesus'.
Posted on 04/01/2002 7:06:12 AM PST by marshmallow
DEFYING the painfully obvious symptoms of his decline, the Pope rallied his failing strength yesterday to denounce the horror and despair into which the Holy Land had plunged and call for an end to this spiral of hatred, revenge and abuse of power.
The 81-year-old pontiff, who may shortly have to enter hospital for a knee operation, has told close advisers that he is aware of pressure on him to step down because of his collapsing health, but said that he was refusing to do so because Christ did not descend from the Cross.
Summoning his formidable will power to lead Easter Mass and make his traditional Urbi et Orbi (To the City and the World) address the Pope, his face contorted in pain, pleaded for peace in the Middle East. This is truly a great tragedy, he said, his voice at times clear, but otherwise quavering and often slurred. No political or religious leader can remain silent or inactive.
An emergency medical team stood by discreetly as the Pope spoke, with an ambulance at the Vatican gates.
The Pope has had to take a back seat for most of the Holy Week celebrations, handing the celebration of Masses to senior cardinals in the race to succeed him, including Angelo Sodano, the Secretary of State, and Camillo Ruini, the Vicar of Rome.
The Pope is receiving heavy medication to counteract the debilitating effects of Parkinsons disease, and suffers from persistent knee pain caused by arthritis. Vatican officials said that he had refused to use a special electric wheelchair delivered to the Vatican at the end of February.
Cardinal Ersilio Tonini, 87, said that he saw no shame in a wheelchair-bound Pope, since in earlier times Popes had often used a sedan chair when they became old and frail. Yesterday the Pope used a temporary altar in St Peters because he was unable to negotiate the steps leading to the main altar.
Alfredo Carfagni, a leading Rome surgeon, said that he had been contacted by the Vatican about performing knee surgery on the Pope.
The pontiff, hailed as Gods athlete for his sporting prowess when he was elected at the age of 58 in 1978, had emergency surgery when he was shot in the abdomen in 1981 by a Turkish gunman, and has since undergone operations for a dislocated shoulder, a broken femur and the removal of a benign tumour. Professor Carfagni, of the San Carlo di Nancy hospital near the Vatican, said that knee surgery might prove unnecessary if there is a miracle, for which we all hope.
Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estévez of Chile yesterday revealed that when the Pope had been asked why he continued his mission despite the condition of his health he had said that he had to carry on just as Christ had refused to come down from the Cross.
Cardinal Medina, head of the Vatican Congregation for the Divine Cult and the Sacraments, said that although no Pope had stepped down voluntarily since Celestine V at the end of the 13th century, Church canon law did provide for papal abdication if the Pope is no longer able to carry out his functions.
Cardinal Medina said, however, that Pope John Paul II had a select team to help him and they had enabled him to preside at Palm Sunday and Good Friday ceremonies by sitting nearby on the papal throne, On Good Friday the Pope failed for the first time in his papacy to carry the Cross even part of the way around the Stations of the Cross during the candelit Via Crucis ceremony inside the Colosseum, although he did hold the cross at the last station. He appeared exhausted yesterday after holding a three-hour Mass on Saturday night.
The Pope, who turns 82 next month, is still insisting on a full programme of foreign travel this year, with trips to Bulgaria in May and Canada and Mexico in the summer.
At the weekend he passed a new milestone as his papacy became the sixth longest. When he spoke on Good Friday of the shadows of the evening, everyone knew he was referring to himself, La Repubblica said.
In his message yesterday, delivered under a sunny sky to tens of thousands packed into a flower-filled St Peters Square, the Pope referred to the tragic sequence of atrocities and killings which steep the Holy Land in blood . . . it is as if war has been declared on peace. Nothing is resolved through reprisals and retaliation. He read Easter greetings in 62 languages, including Hebrew and Arabic.
Good summary of the reformation and what it did to Christianity. Thanks.
God HAS Blessed and will continue to Bless His Servant JPII, regardless of the detractors within and without.
He must have that little snippet of code constantly ready for just such an emergency.
Not sure where you're getting this nonsense from . . .
Sometimes you just gotta laigh.
Leo XIII's papacy (1878-1903) lasted 25 years 5 months.
Bl. Pope Pius IX's papacy (1846-1878) was 31 years 7 months.
Pius VII's papacy lasted 23 years 5 months (1800-1823), so I assume he's the one the Holy Father just surpassed.
Pius VI's papacy lasted 24 years 5 months (1775-1799).
Adrian I's papacy (772-795) lasted 23 years 10 months. I guess he's fifth?
Pope St. Peter's papacy was approximately 34 or 35 years (32/33 - 66/67).
1. St. Peter
2. Bl. Pius IX
3. Leo XIII
4. Pius VI
5. Adrian I
6. John Paul II
Tell us who has seared your conscience, Berned, so that we might avoid them.
What else could it mean but that the US was now firmly on the side of the suicide bombers, right?
Eze 37:12 "Therefore prophesy and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, My people ; and I will bring you into the land of Israel.
Eze 37:13 "Then you will know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, My people .