Monday, August 16, 2004

Pope--"I have reached the end of my pilgrimage"

From Belfast Telegraph:

"The Pope, who on Saturday - the first of his two days at Lourdes - appeared briefly to lose his balance while kneeling down at Bernadette's cave, made a rare reference to his state of health at the start of the Rosary prayer. 'I feel with emotion that I have reached the end of my pilgrimage,' he said, and was seen to shed tears.

The Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls talked down the significance of the sentence. 'The Pope is showing his emotion over this pilgrimage to Lourdes which he has been looking forward to for a long time.''

But many see the Pope's visit to Lourdes - only his second trip outside Italy this year - as a symbolic farewell on Earth to the Virgin Mary whose hand he believes saved his life when a Turkish would-be assassin shot him in May 1981."