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By Deacon Keith Fournier

7/19/2009 (6 years ago)

Catholic Online (

As you see, because of my accident, I am a bit limited in my movements, but my heart is fully present, and I am here with you with great joy!

This injury is an invitation to all of us to thank the Lord for the gift of the Church and for the security and stability which comes from the Chair of Peter. Most especially it is a time to thank the Lord for this Pope, Pope Benedict XVI.

This injury is an invitation to all of us to thank the Lord for the gift of the Church and for the security and stability which comes from the Chair of Peter. Most especially it is a time to thank the Lord for this Pope, Pope Benedict XVI.


By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (

7/19/2009 (6 years ago)

Published in Europe

ROME (Catholic Online) - It was not that long ago that we all watched as an extraordinary and very holy Pope, known to love the mountains, fell prey to the frailties of age before our eyes. The Late Servant of God John Paul II who strode out onto St Peters Balcony and into the world's heart by proclaiming "Be Not Afraid" became a prophetic sign for the whole world as he suffered and died before our eyes with a beauty incapable of being expressed with words.

The Chair of Peter became a wheel chair. We watched a holy man die the way he had lived, conformed to the Lord Jesus Christ, becoming a grain of wheat whose death brought continued life to the Church and through her to the world.

Perhaps that is why that same world, knowingly or unknowingly, watched with such rapt attention and concern as his worthy successor, Pope Benedict XVI, this gentle man of diminutive stature who is such an intellectual giant, slipped and broke his wrist while on a much deserved break in the mountains.

The world knows that this similarly holy man who took the name Benedict in order to send a signal of the significance of our time and the mission of the Church, really is the successor of the Apostle Peter. In a world full of leaders who are ever so eager to speak, so full of empty wind, he is actually filled the Holy Spirit and speaks only when he has something worth saying.

Reports indicate that he arrived at the hospital with little fanfare, walking inside the emergency room with his aides. He insisted the he get no special treatment, he just wanted to wait with everyone else for the X Ray.

The operation went well, that is for an 82 year old man. This prolific writer had just finished giving the world a masterpiece on the Social Teaching of the Catholic Church entitled "Charity in Truth." The pundits were still trying to call it "liberal" or "conservative" when it is neither, it is Catholic! The ink was not even dry and then he fell!

He has broken the wrist of his writing hand! I am sorry, am I the only one who thinks that this is symbolic? I have seen no commentary on the significance of this injury. It is well known that this Pope actually writes much of his extraordinary thought in long hand. He does so with the very hand which is now immobilized because of the break.

It is also well known that Professor Ratzinger, ever the teacher, loves to write. It is one of his main forms of artistic expression, relaxation, inspiration, ministry and re-creation. Now, due to the reality of the exigencies of normal human life, his vacation plans have been scuttled; the hoped for opportunity to write during this particular vacation has been curtailed. However, there was not a word of complaint from Pope Benedict XVI.

Newspapers were filled with his gracious expressions of gratitude toward all who treated him. This is all so very human and that is why it is also so very beautiful. That is after all the point. He is called to invite us all by word and example to live fully human lives, redeemed now in Christ.

Like his predecessor and dear friend, the Servant of God John Paul II, Pope Benedict is very prone to quote these extraordinary words from the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World issued by the Second Vatican Council:

"22. The truth is that only in the mystery of the incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light. For Adam, the first man, was a figure of Him Who was to come, namely Christ the Lord. Christ, the final Adam, by the revelation of the mystery of the Father and His love, fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear."

In his fall and in his response he has shown us a heart which is humble, human and beating with the Heart of Jesus Christ. On the Lord's Day, he came out to meet the faithful. He raised his hands to greet the faithful who had gathered in this mountain village. He showed them the cast. He then spoke with simplicity and true humanity "As you see, because of my accident, I am a bit limited in my movements, but my heart is fully present, and I am here with you with great joy!"

As he had done in the hospital he showed both human and supernatural virtues by continuing to thank all who had helped him noting that "many have shown me, at this time, their closeness, their warmth, their affection and have prayed for me.... they have reinforced the network of prayer that unites us in every part of the world."

However, let's be honest, Pope Benedict XVI is the oldest Pope to have been elected at the age of 78. He had planned to use this well deserved "vacation" to work on the second part of his extraordinary book entitled "Jesus of Nazareth." His kind and sincerely joyful demeanor was inspiring as he told the faithful "Let's hope it will be a complete success." He led them in prayer and again thanked the Doctors and Nurses who cared for him.

When all is said and done, the human frailties of this wonderful Pope are a cause for all of us to stop and pray for him. He is an older man. Anyone who has cared for aging parents knows that when they fall, not only are their bones more brittle, but one must be concerned about the reason why.

This injury is an invitation to all of us to thank the Lord for the gift of the Church and for the security and stability which comes from the Chair of Peter. Most especially it is a time to thank the Lord for this Pope, Pope Benedict XVI.

Let's be honest, we are living in a very difficult time in human history. The Church is the only hope for this world because she continues the redemptive mission of the Lord until He comes again.

Pray for our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. Pray for our beloved Church.


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