Tuesday, March 22, 2005

White Smoke Watch:
Skipping Easter

The Pope has canceled all future audiences, his traditional Easter Week obligations, and all travel arrangements until August.

As if his holiness will be going anywhere on terra firma in August.

Pope to skip Good Friday, health precarious

Vatican sources say pontiff's recovery from surgery going slow

Updated: 6:44 a.m. ET March 22, 2005

VATICAN CITY - Pope John Paul's recovery from throat surgery is going slower than hoped for, raising even more doubts over if and when he can resume normal activities, Vatican sources said on Tuesday.

"Unfortunately, things are not going as well as we would have hoped," a Vatican monsignor told Reuters. "These are the ups and downs of post-operative convalescence for a man of his age and condition."

"It is clear the Pope is suffering a lot," said another cleric who works in the Vatican.

Vatican sources said the 84-year-old Pope, who was last seen in public on Sunday, would have to miss this week's Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) procession at the Colosseum on Good Friday, the day Christians commemorate Christ's passion and death. --snip--

The procession will instead be presided over by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Pope's vicar for Rome. The Pontiff will watch on television and if his health permits, he will join the ceremony via a video link at the start or the end.

The Pope's audiences, including Wednesday general audiences, have effectively been suspended until further notice.--snip--

Condition worsening?

One newspaper, Rome's Il Messaggero, quoted an unnamed Polish priest as having been told by the Pope's secretary: "Pray for the Pope because his condition is worsening."--snip--

He still has a tube, known as a cannula, in this throat to help him breath and medical experts have said he will most likely have to keep it there for the rest of his life.--snip--

The absence during Holy Week of the Pope, now in the 27th year of his papacy, has hung heavy in the air.

Holy Week is the busiest and most important period in the Church's liturgical calendar.

The Pope has even delegated the Easter Sunday mass to a cardinal but is expected to deliver his "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) blessing.

I've actually seen this pope in action.

In Rome.

He flew in from Castel Gondolfo in his papal white popecopter and drove into St. Peter's Square in his papal white and bulletproof glass popemobile to address the masses.

And I do mean masses.

That particular crowd was estimated at 120 thousand people.

I had a papal white plastic chair down front because I happened to be staying on Vatican property that month, and as Tony Soprano would say, "I knew a guy."

It took Il Papa 13 languages (read phonetically) to get to English. By then, I was bored and in serious need of gelato.

I offered my seat to an old woman who had walked on bloody knees to see this man.

She kissed my feet.


Anyway, sfortzando seems to be the modus operandi of the Vatican Press Corps.


You can bet that Ruini, Ratzinger et al are rehearsing in the wings.


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