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Pope John Paul II, The Silent?

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The ailing, 84 year-old Pope John Paul ll may not be doing much public speaking — ever — following a tracheotomy (a small opening cut into the neck and windpipe, with a breathing tube inserted into it so air can flow directly into the lungs) yesterday to alleviate a breathing crisis caused by an obstruction. He was ordered to avoid speaking for at least several days.

“It was a question of assuring adequate breathing of the patient. … He has a significant feeling of relief,” said papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls. “He’s breathing on his own.” There were no signs of fever or pneumonia.

It is unclear how long the tracheotomy tube will remain: in some patients the tube is left permanently, greatly altering speech, some even learn to talk through the tube. Others plug the tube and speak in bursts. None of these options would appear to be conducive to public speaking; and then there is the pope’s Parkinson’s, which makes any kind of coordination even more difficult.

“This is a big problem,” said Vatican Cardinal Renato Martino, mentioning the pope’s temporary inability to speak. Indeed, since communication has been the special hallmark of this pontiff, should he resign if he can no longer speak in public?

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About Eric Olsen

  • http://selfaudit.blogspot.com Aaman

    Pope Pius XII was silent, some might say, on the Holocaust(Although others may disagree -“Pius XII? This is the only human being who has always contradicted me and who has never obeyed me.”- Adolf Hitler)

    Pope John Paul II was somewhat silent for long on the sexual abuse scandals

    Pope Formusus in the 9th century was exhumed and put on trial. He was silent on the matter.

    Of course, Peter, himself, was silent on whether or not he was the first pope

    The pontificating ability of the pope has been discussed by the cardinals sometime back

    But what if this does not? Does this new ailment bring us one step closer to a mute pope?During the celebrations for the 25th anniversary of the pontificate in October 2003, two Curia cardinals expressed opinions on the issue. “If he lost the power of speech, it would raise the question of renouncing the pontificate”, said Argentina’s Jorge Mejia, noting that among other things a mute pope “cannot celebrate the Eucharist”.The reply came from a Curia jurist, Mario Pompedda, who asserted that the pope rules, a faculty that “he could exercise in writing” if he lost the power of speech.

  • NC

    One could make the case that by persisting in his mission despite diminished capacities, the Pope is making a powerful statement about the preciousness of life and perseverance through hardship to serve God.

    Me, I think he should blow his brains out.

  • Eric Olsen

    it all weaves together, doesn’t it?

  • NC

    Indeed. In fact, the conversation with my mom that I referred to in the other thread came up in the context of the Pope’s illness. I’m not sure how we segued from one subject to the other, but I do know she was aghast when I read her Bill Buckley’s “Die, Pope, Die” op-ed.

  • http://selfaudit.blogspot.com Aaman

    Bad yahoo URL there

  • http://selfaudit.blogspot.com Aaman

    Papal abdication should be made into the hands of the College of Cardinals, since that body must elect a successor (Ferraris). The following popes abdicated:

    * Marcellinus
    * Liberius
    * Benedict IX
    * Gregory VI
    * Saint Celestine V
    * Gregory XII

    Pius VII signed a conditional abdication in 1804, before setting out for France to crown Napoleon, to take effect if he were imprisoned.

  • http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    Bad idea, Aaman. The Pope must be able to defy the College of Cardinals without fear of being “silenced.”

    And so far as I am aware, the current pontiff has not lost his power to communicate — only his power to speak. In this community, especially, no one should dismiss the power of the written word — or papal bull.

  • mhark dominic

    It is during this time more than ever, that the Holy Father needs our prayers for his speedy recovery. Let us not be blinded by his present condition, but rather be appreciative of his struggles and determination to rule the Church, the people of God, despite of his frailty.

    The Church, society, and contemporary man has learned alot from this beloved child of Poland as he ushers the Church in the third mellennium. We heard him speak in season and out of season defending the Church, man, values, morals, among others.

    As he approach the sunset of his journey, and amidst the many questions concerning his health condition and the papacy, let us be reminded that Christ before assending to heaven promissed his apostles to be with the Church ’til the end of time, thus, as to who will be the next pope, we have nothing to worry for he is the invisible head of the visible One; the groom who always look after the well-being of his bride… the Church. God bless John Paul II! God bless the pilgrim people of God, the Church!

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Well, that last one was pretty surreal.

    And here I was going to post that no one cares what the Pope has to say anymore, that he’s essentially irrelevant, but apparently there are still a few diehards.

    IMO he’s said everything that he has to say at least twice. What new would he come up with in the brief time before he dies?

    Dave

  • Shark

    hominy-dominy: “…the Holy Father needs our prayers for his speedy recovery…”

    He can pray for his own friggin’ health. He’s got a direct line to the Big Medieval Catholic Guy, so let him use his own nickel.

    (“You cannot petition the Lord with prayer.” –James Douglas Morrison)

    Man, there are two people in the news that I never want to hear about again:

    Michael Jackson
    Pope Karol Wojtyla

    I’d like to see their roles reversed, tho; put the Pope on trial and cut a very large ‘theraputic’ hole in Jackson’s throat.

  • http://www.dominusilluminatiomea.blogspot.com Elizabeth

    Many prayers for our Holy Father. For whoever said that what the Pope has to say is irrevelant, you couldn’t be more wrong. I, for one, am a teenager who has had her life changed radically by the words and example of John Paul II. I don’t stand alone. Take a look at the sheer number of young people who have been flocking to WYDs. That’s just one group of people. John Paul II has addressed individuals in every walk of life from speaking about protection of the unborn, to the sanctity of marriage, to the courage and wisdom of the aged and dieing. Even people who disagree with our Holy Father have had to admit his lasting affect on the world. A little respect for a great man is in order.

  • http://www.biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Dave said “And here I was going to post that no one cares what the Pope has to say anymore, that he’s essentially irrelevant, but apparently there are still a few diehards.”

    Sorry, Dave, I respectfully disagree. Pope John Paul II is hardly irrelevant. He commands a great deal of admiration from Eastern-bloc countries. Most conservative politicians across the globe have ingratiated themselves with him. Third World countries have reaped great benefits from this Pope especially with his elevation of so many to the College of Cardinals.

    Karol Wojtyla has made his mark on history in his 50+ years as a priest. He fought bravely against the Nazi occupation. He stared communism in the face and watched it disintegrate. He maintained his devotion to Our Lady of Czestochowa and dedicated his pontificate to the Blessed Mother. In life, he is not to be discounted. In death, he will be considered for Sainthood. Count on it.

  • http://selfaudit.blogspot.com Aaman

    There’s not much difference any more between sainthoods from the Church and knighthoods from the Crown. Meaningless symbolic gestures mostly irrelevant

    He is a significant person, of course, and deserves all honour

  • Eric Olsen

    absolutely no disrespect intended, but it’s a Catholic thing

  • http://www.biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Yes it is, Eric, totally a Catholic thing since the Reformation. Unfortunately most Catholics seem to buy into the whole drama. I’m not denying that there are those who have lived the lives of saints.

    Karol Wojtyla in his capacity has made more of an impact on the world than any other Pope in the 20th century. Pacelli (Pius XII) was a snake. Roncalli (John XXIII) was an affable man who would have done more. Montini (Paul VI) is someone that I am not sure about. Luciani (John Paul I) was taken out too quickly to have any impact at all.

  • John Raphael

    The comment about there being no difference between sainthood from the Church and knighthood from the crown is one of the most ill-spoken ones I have heard in long memory.

    While one might question the moral fibre of some Catholic clerics, most that I have experienced in my lifetime have been moral men, who have tried to love God, tried to serve his people and tried to hold up some kind of a moral code for all people of good will to live by.

    From most “crowns” today, I have seen mostly self-serving immaturity, adultery, fornication, disregard and disrespect for their peoples’ history and feelings (Prince Harry and his Swastika) and the list goes on.

    I am not a prude. You may call me a “diehard.” I would ask you to answer a couple of questions. Why is it that when someone disagrees with the Church they think they must rip and tear angrily away at everything associated with it, even someone (like John Paul II) who tried to do so much good in his pontificate? Are you really angry at John Paul II? Are you really angry at God? Are you afraid of letting God in?

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