The pope should be able to give his Urbi et Orbi blessing at Easter

Source: FSSPX News


John-Paul II will not celebrate any of the Holy Week ceremonies this year. He will be replaced by cardinals of the Curia. On Sunday, March 20, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar of Rome and president of the Italian episcopal conference, will celebrate the Mass of Palm Sunday, in St Peter’s square. On March 24, Holy Thursday, at 9:30 am in St Peter’s basilica, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, head of the Congregation for Bishops, will celebrate the Chrismal Mass during which the Holy Oils are consecrated. At 5:30 pm, the Mass which commemorates the institution of the Holy Eucharist will be celebrated by Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the family.

On Good Friday, March 25, the ceremony of the Passion of Christ will be presided over by Cardinal James Francis Stafford, great penitentiary at 5:00 pm in St Peter’s basilica. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Congregation for the doctrine of the faith, and dean of the Sacred College, will celebrate the Paschal Vigil in the Vatican basilica. Lastly, the Mass of Easter, on March 27, will be celebrated in St Peter’s square by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the secretary of State.

The program published, on March 8, by the Holy See, indicates that the only public participation of John Paul II in these Paschal celebrations is, as of now, the blessing Urbi et Orbi, which he will give at noon from St Peter’s Square, at the end of the Mass. The communiqué from the Vatican does not say whether the pope will speak or will only bless the crowd.

Neither has the Vatican indicated who will preside over the Way of Cross at the Coliseum, on the evening of March 25, thus leaving open the possibility of a participation of John Paul II. This year, cardinal Ratzinger is the author of the meditations on the 14 stations of this Way of the Cross. The theme is the verse from the Gospel according to St John, "Unless the grain of wheat dies, it remaineth only a single grain".

"Probably the pope will spend Holy Week at the Vatican", declared the spokesman of the Holy See on March 7, during a press conference giving the fifth health bulletin published since the hospitalization of the pope. According to Joaquin Navarro-Valls, the pope has been ordered to limit the use of his voice, in spite of "a continued improvement of his phonation thanks to the daily séance of rehabilitation". During this same press conference Joaquin Navarro-Valls explained that the pope still had a tube, following his tracheotomy, and that the "doctors would decide when it could be removed".

It is the first time during his pontificate that John Paul II cannot assume the Paschal ceremonies.