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Wednesday, February 02, 2005

ok... jamais deux sans trois...!

The sad news never cease... do they? However, this time, it is not of a passing but of the prospect of that passing that I will ramble on a bit... For there is prophecy and (yes, you guessed it) more doom and gloom attached to it...

As the Pope took ill for the umpteenth time, one is reminded that when he crosses over to the "other side", a prophecy becomes ever more possible... Malachy (a prophet and reputed saint too) has predicted centuries ago that there would be a FINITE number of popes... One is reminded also that the current pope is, apparently, the "third-to-last one" - in other words, two more and that's all folks! And since popes can last up to anything in-between mere days to many years, one is not reassured one bit as to how long that gives the Church... or the World in terms of "time to endure"...!

The skeptics think it is of no concern at all - that even if this prophecy comes to fruition, all it will mean is the end of the Roman Catholic Church "empire" - which has been in steady decline indeed (no pun intended - although, in-between this allusion to the Roman Empire which was also used by a Québécois filmmaker for his contemporary fluff - and the title of today's entry, one will think that "je suis fier d'être québécois" - I will decline (...) to comment on that! *LOL*). Only problem is... Malachy, as Nostradamus and most "good prophets" in general, had scope... his prophecies were about the fate of the world as a whole.
Be concerned... about the Pope's health, folks!

Pope's Spokesman Says Situation 'Calm'

The pope was being treated Wednesday for respiratory problems in the Gemelli Polyclinic. He was rushed there late Tuesday from his Vatican apartment, Vatican officials said.

Feb 2, 4:44 AM (ET)


ROME (AP) - Pope John Paul II spent a restful night in hospital, Italian news reports said Wednesday, a day after he was rushed to a hospital with breathing difficulties. The 84-year-old pontiff had been battling the flu for several days.

"I'm going home, the situation is calm," papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls told reporters after spending about an hour at the hospital.

He gave no details on the pope's condition but a medical bulletin was expected later in the morning.

The pontiff rested "quite well," the news agency ANSA said, quoting an unnamed Vatican source. The news agency Apcom also reported that the pope had spent a "quiet night."

Papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls characterized the hurried admission to the special papal suite on the 10th floor of the hospital as "mainly precautionary" for the pope, who also suffers from Parkinson's disease. Navarro-Valls, who has a medical degree, said the pontiff had had "breathing difficulties."

A Vatican official on Tuesday night, speaking on condition of anonymity, described the problem as a "breathing crisis."

John Paul was whisked to the hospital by ambulance, which is always at his ready, and first examined in the emergency room before being taken to his hospital suite, Italian TV and news agency reports said.

Gemelli Polyclinic spokesman Nicola Cerbino said the first information about the pope's condition would be released by the Vatican.

Navarro-Valls told The Associated Press early Wednesday that the pope has the flu and acute laryngeal tracheitis - inflammation of the trachea, a breathing passage - and had a "certain difficulty in breathing." He denied Italian news reports that John Paul had a CAT scan at the hospital or that he was taken to intensive care.

In a separate statement, the Vatican also said the pope had experienced a "larynx spasm crisis."

Tracheitis requires hospitalization and usually a breathing tube to keep the airway clear. The spasms are likely a complication from the respiratory illness the pope has had. It is possible his Parkinson's disease, which makes muscle control difficult, made it harder for him to breathe.

The first sign of the frail pope's illness came on Sunday, when he kept clearing his throat during a 20-minute appearance at his studio window, thrown wide open on one of Rome's most bone-chilling days in years so he could release a pair of doves symbolizing peace into St. Peter's Square.

Prayers for the pope were being said by faithful in churches around Rome.

"After we got the news we added a special prayer during our morning Mass," said Bishop Szczepan Wesoly, who presided at the service at the Polish church near Piazza Venezia in the center of the city attended by Polish nuns in black habits.

Security arrangements were among the tightest in memory at the hospital - a Catholic teaching institution about 2 1/2 miles from the Vatican - where the pope has stayed some half-dozen times, starting in 1981 when he was critically injured by a gunshot wound to the abdomen in an assassination attempt in St. Peter's Square.

The shutters on the windows of the pope's hospital suite were open just a crack.

Italian SKY TG24 television reported that hospital staff arriving for early morning shifts were being made to park away from the hospital so they wouldn't be able to slip unauthorized persons inside as they drove into garage areas.

When he was elected pontiff in 1978, John Paul was a robust 58-year-old with an athlete's physique who was serving as archbishop of Krakow in his native Poland, where he played soccer, skied and kayaked as a youth. Less than three years later, in May 1981, he suffered his first health crisis when he was shot by a Turkish gunman in the square.

Other serious medical problems requiring hospitalization included a bowel tumor, described by doctors as benign and removed in 1992, intestinal problems which led to the 1996 removal of his appendix and a 1994 broken thigh bone, fractured in a fall in his bathroom.

A close member of the pope's staff, American Archbishop James Harvey, said John Paul had congestion and a slight fever earlier Tuesday, apparently symptoms of a flu that Vatican Radio on Monday had described as mild.

Tuesday morning the Vatican announced that papal engagements including his weekly general audience on Wednesday was canceled.

Harvey said the decision to hospitalize the pope was made by close aides in his apartment complex, who include his longtime Polish secretary.

The flu has been sweeping through Italy since December. The Rome region, shivering through nighttime subfreezing temperatures in an unusual cold spell, has been among the hardest-hit. It was not known whether the pontiff had a flu shot.
And no - I am not suggesting we all embark on a "pontifical death watch" now... that would be in very poor taste indeed... maybe even trivial as well, given the resiliency of this John-Paul... the complete opposite of the first John-Paul... undeniably.
Who is this guy anyway? So many people rever 'The Pope'. No mockery if you are Roman Catholic, but blind faith is misleading. I, for one, believe in the sanctity of life and holiness in all human beings. I do hope he is well (in spirit), for the body is temporary.
You have got that absolutely right - the body is temporary ; the soul is all! I am delighted to "hear" that coming from a poet such as yourself - with one foot solidly anchored in so-called "reality", through your practice...

As for revering the Pope - I respect him, but that is it. No idols for me. Only the Creator is worthy of adoration and reverence. John-Paul II though is better than me - I am certain of it. Not because of title or prestige, but I sincerely believe in HIS sincerity and piety - he may not be an actual "saint" already, but he would be / should be / surely is closer to that level of perfection than anybody else almost. So was Mother Teresa... so would be many more of the Pope's relative homologues in other faiths...
Oh - having said all that - I honestly believe that there are a far greater number out there of "unknown saints" - men and women who have gone through so much adversity and pain in the course of their existences that they rank above the Pope and anybody else that is well-known and vying for the status of "sainthood"... And, if their suffering is not recognized and met with an attestation (!) that officially stamps it as "enough" to qualify, these individuals will never be beatified or canonized by the Roman Catholic Church for instance... Someone far higher than the Church Knows better though - and Will set things right!

Several famous cases that were seen as shoo-ins to become saints by the year 200 are still awaiting that "promotion" though... including Italy's Padre Pio and Canada's Brother André... so, in conclusion, the Church is ill-equipped to recognize sainthood everywhere it is truly to be found - or so it appears.
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