I was a little concerned when I read this, but perhaps it is just me - let me know what you think. CNN/Reuters posted an interesting news report this weekend speaking about the Pope's visit to Slovakia. Of all the things they could've written about, here is the headline:
Pope appears weak on Slovak tour
Although I encourage you to read the whole article, here are some snippets that concern me:
The 83-year-old pope, who suffers from Parkinson's disease and can no longer walk, had difficulty pronouncing the prayers at the mass...I grant that it said a few good things, particularly about things the pope had done, such as contribute to the fall of the Soviet Union, but what do you think their aim is with this particular article? It certainly isn't to portray an active, high-spirited pope. So why do they believe he even took this trip?
The pope, who has looked exceptionally weak on his 102nd trip abroad, braved stiff winds...
Speaking in a feeble voice at the end of the two-hour mass, he told them and others who had entered the country to see him: "Your turnout and singing has pleased my heart."
The pope started the trip on Thursday and was so weak that aides had to help him finish his two speeches on his first day.
His strength bounced back a bit on Friday, ... but on Saturday he seemed very weak again...
The pope often had his head slumped in his hands as his delegate read his sermon, which was mostly about religious themes...
Given the pope's advancing age and ailments, his followers are turning out in droves knowing each trip to his native central Europe, where he spurred the struggle against Soviet domination and was instrumental in its fall, could be his last.
But his message so far on the trip, which ends on Sunday, has so far been obscured by fears over his health as he approaches the 25th anniversary of his election next month.
He suffers physically in his body, but his mind is clear, competent, and focused. The Holy Father is still perfectly deserving of the title John Paul the Great, even if he has trouble standing. Was not Pope St. Gregory the Great extremely ill during his final years as pope? Of Gregory the Great, newadvent.org states:
What makes his achievement more wonderful is his constant ill-health. He suffered almost continually from indigestion and, at intervals, from attacks of slow fever, while for the last half of his pontificate he was a martyr to gout. In spite of these infirmities, which increased steadily, his biographer, Paul the Deacon, tells us "he never rested" (Vita, XV).Pope John Paul II is not too different. I saw this perfectly clear at World Youth Day last year in Toronto. The weak pope flew in to pray with us, celebrate Holy Mass with us, encourage us, teach us about Christ and the beauty of grace. One thing that I love about this pope is that just when the world thinks he is ready to throw in the towel, he surprises them with yet another trip, another letter, another prayer. When CNN writes about Stephen Hawking, what do you think they focus on? The fact that he is severely physically disabled, confined to a wheelchair, or the fact that he is one of the most brilliant minds of our day who never quits contributing to his field.