dinsdag 25 oktober 2011

Time to start worrying about the Pope's health?

Last week I advised CWN readers not to waste time worrying about the news that Pope Benedict was towed down the aisle on a rolling platform when he celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s basilica. It was obviously a concession to his advanced age, I said, but apparently nothing more.

This week brought a new report: The Pope is no longer scheduling one-on-one visits with the bishops making their ad limina visits. OK, you can start worrying now.

There’s a perfectly plausible reason for the latest change in policy: to lighten the Pope’s schedule. Instead of a series of quick, rushed meetings with each of the visiting diocesan bishops, the Pope has decided to hold longer, more broad-ranging sessions with several bishops at a time. There’s nothing inherently alarming about the change. But coming just after the re-introduction of the rolling platform (which we know all too well from its use during the last years of Blessed John Paul II), it’s a clear indication that Vatican officials are on a drive to save the Pope’s energy—presumably because the physical demands of his work are taking their toll.

This is not a call to panic. There is no indication that the Holy Father is suffering from any severe ailment. But he is 84 now, and his health has never been robust. Even if simple fatigue is the main problem now, more serious problems may be coming soon.

(Phil Lawler, CatholicCulture.org)