John Paul II, the 3rd longest pontificate in history

Source: FSSPX News


For Cardinal Poupard, President of the Pontifical Council for Cultural Affairs, "John Paul II was again today, as he was before the tragedy of the consistory in the month of October". In the Vatican, according to Apic Agency, the atmosphere is relaxed, even if the state of health of the Pope remains fragile and unstable.

John Paul II begun again to read his speeches, to smile, to improvise. He even pronounced a few words in the Roman dialect, on the occasion of a meeting with the parish priests of the Eternal city, on February 26. On February 11, he paid a surprise visit to the few Carmelite Nuns who live inside the Vatican, offering them chocolates and a cake and blessing them one after the other from the car which had led him to the doors of the convent.

This relaxation allows the planning of the coming months with a certain amount of serenity, as well as the possible journeys of the Pope. Thus, the man organizing the papal journeys, Mgr Renato Boccardo, recently went to Bern, the Swiss capital to prepare the visit to take place on June 5 and 6 on the occasion of a meeting with the youth.

Another invitation was transmitted to the Pope by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, archbishop of Vienna and coordinator of the Pilgrimage of the peoples which will gather more than 80,000 people from the 8 countries of Eastern Europe, 5 of which will just have joined the European Union, in the Marian shrine of Mariazell on May 22. The coming of the Pope to this Marian shrine is very uncertain. This date being too close to that of his journey to Switzerland, a country he has not gone to since 1985, whereas his last visit to Austria only dates back to June 1998. A Cardinal legate could be sent in his stead.

Besides, in Rome the date of May 23 is more and more spoken of for a second visit of John-Paul II to the synagogue of Rome. The first took place in April 1986.

In Poland, where a visit was suggested in the past months, the cardinal Archbishop of Krakow recently told the media that the shrine of Krakow which he desired to be blessed by the Pope, would not be finished before 2005.

An invitation was also addressed to John Paul II on the occasion of the upcoming International Eucharistic Congress in Mexico. But in the Vatican, this hypothesis is deemed "absolutely improbable".

In France, where the 100th anniversary of the social Weeks of France will be celebrated in Lille at the end of September, some rumors coming from the Vatican and the concerned dioceses hint at a possible stop over in Strasbourg, at the European Council and also in Lisieux, for the 50th anniversary the consecration of the basilica and the possible beatification of the parents of Saint Therese of Lisieux.