The Vatican just announced that the Pope suffered heart failure earlier this evening. Dr. Arthur St. Andre says that he may . . . may . . . be surviving only on his IV to keep his blood pressure up. The Vatican describes the pontiff as seriously ill but lucid and comfortable. There are reports that doctors recommended he return to the hospital, but he personally declined. Obviously, he wants to die at what has been his home for the past quarter century. I remember when the College of Cardinals was was cloistered to select this Pope. John Paul I had died almost as his first act as Prince of Rome. Before that, we had learned all about the succession and selection of Popes in religion class when Paul died.
While the Cardinals were in session, Dan Psaris and I were playing fuzz ball in the school yard one day when a seminarian, Rick Eschelbach, came out to hit some balls.
"Rick, are you running for Pope?" I said.
"You don't run for Pope, Hennessy," he explained, irritated at my flippancy.
"Yeah, well, if they keep dropping like flies, you'll be next in line before you finish priest school," Psaris told him.
Yes, Catholic school boys can be extremely irreverent regarding their Church.
Stories have it that JPI was probably the most liberal man to sit in the big chair. We know that JPII is one of the most conservative since the last Pius. Makes you wonder why JPI lasted only a month, doesn't it? We know that God knows all, but we wonder what He knows.
12:20 AM CT: The Vatican released the following:
The Holy Father suffered a complete cardio-circulatory collapse and is on cardio-respiratory assistance. He is conscious, lucid, and serene.
It sounds like he's in his final hours. God bless him. He does great things for many people, even if he presided over the worst scandal in the Catholic church since the Inquisition. Much of the child-molestation problem arose from the very liberalism that John Paul fought against.
MonBlogger is also blogging on both the Pope and Terri Schiavo. Tough day for Catholics.
For those who were brought up in the days of instant information, I should tell you that a live cam of the Vatican will tell you first, should the Pope succumb. The Vatican will not issue a press release immediately. Instead, black smoke will emit from the Sistine Chapel once the church's internal requirements are met. According to EWTN:
Regardless of the circumstances, when a Pope dies certain procedures specified in Church law, specifically the Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis, must be followed. First among these is the certification that he is truly dead. This task falls to the Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church.
In the presence of the Master of Papal Liturgical Ceremonies, the Cleric Prelates of the Apostolic Camera, and the Secretary and the Chancellor of the Apostolic Camera, the Camerlengo ascertains that the Pope is dead. Naturally, this could require the assistance of medical personnel. Having made this determination, the Chancellor of the Apostolic Camera draws up the official death certificate. The Camerlengo then seals the Pope