Witness of Suffering

Reliving the final days of Blessed John Paul II

by Philip F. Lawler

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Book Description

Faced with a debilitating disease, Blessed John Paul II chose not to suffer in privacy, but to let the entire world watch his struggle. Inevitably he would lose the fight against his illness. But in the process he would offer a personal testimony to the value of suffering. The last weeks of his life became a powerful drama, reaching its emotional climax as the world stood vigil—somber, prayerful, expectant—during his last hours. This collection of headline stories, from the weeks leading up to his death, recaptures the drama and offers readers another opportunity to reflect on the beloved Pontiff’s final gift to the Church: his suffering.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • The First Crisis: January 31- February 7
  • Ailing Pope suspends audiences
  • Pope's illness forces more cancellations
  • Pope rushed to hospital
  • Pope's condition stabilized; will remain in hospital
  • Vatican attempts business as usual despite Pope's illness
  • Pope thanks faithful for their prayers
  • Pope's condition improving
  • Swiss prelate lauds Pope's courage
  • Background: the Pope's previous hospital trips
  • Pope improving, hopes to make Sunday audience
  • Media furor eases as Pope's condition improves
  • Pope will not address Sunday audience
  • Ecumenical prayer vigil for Pope's health
  • Brief papal appearance Sunday
  • Let the Pope decide about retirement, cardinal says
  • Pope voice dubbed to conceal speaking difficulty?
  • Recovering Pope to remain hospitalized
  • Lent: February 8-22
  • Pope concelebrates Ash Wednesday Mass in hospital room
  • Papal resignation: a complex canonical issue
  • Pope makes a public return to the Vatican
  • Pope must persevere, African cardinal says
  • Pope sends his sympathy to the sick
  • Pope John Paul and the sick: a special bond
  • Pope asks faithful for prayers
  • Pope's presence doubtful for Mass ending Retreat
  • Pope still recuperating, doctor reports
  • Cardinal Sodano to replace Pope at Saturday Mass
  • Pope accepts April invitation from Italian president
  • Mixed signals on Pope's health recovery
  • Protective screen installed to protect Pope from cold during audiences
  • The Second Crisis: February 23-28
  • Cardinal Sodano substitutes for ailing Pope at consistory
  • Pope hospitalized again
  • Successful surgery for Pope
  • Analysis: the Pope's declining health
  • Pope silenced for "several days" during recovery
  • Pope expected to miss Sunday audience
  • Brief papal appearance at hospital window
  • Pope recovering, but doctors voice concerns
  • French leader lauds Pope's spiritual leadership
  • "Resignation" not in Pope's vocabulary, prelate says
  • Curial official decries calls for Pope's resignation
  • Prelate suggests Curia take greater role to aid Pope
  • Pope recovering, may be silenced for weeks
  • Lengthening Shadows: March 1- 11
  • No papal audience Wednesday
  • Pope is speaking, Cardinal Ratzinger reports
  • Canadian cardinal dismisses talk of papal resignation
  • No papal appearance, despite rumors
  • Pope's presence seen key to World Youth Day
  • Pope still plans trip to World Youth Day
  • Pope's medical condition updated
  • Brief papal appearance after Sunday audience
  • Pope's aim: return to Vatican for Holy Week
  • Pope flooded by email support messages
  • Pope will not preside at Holy Week, Easter services
  • Pope makes surprise window appearance
  • Pope to leave hospital in "a few more days"
  • Polish visitor finds Pope speaking clearly
  • Pope's voice aired on Vatican telecast
  • Returning Home: March 12-24
  • Pope returns to Vatican
  • Italian doctors speculate on Pope's prognosis
  • Pope thanks media for hospital coverage
  • No papal audience Wednesday
  • Silent Pope greets audience
  • 40,000 email messages for hospitalized Pontiff
  • Surprise video appearance by Pope at youth conference
  • Pope in pain during quick public appearance
  • New crisis in Pope's health?
  • Pope makes surprise, silent appearance
  • Pope's health problems not hampering Church governance, cardinal says
  • Vatican prelate praises Pope's "serene abandonment"
  • A Part in the Passion: March 25- April 1
  • Pope's illness seen "directly related" to Paschal mystery
  • Frail Pope is still fully lucid and in charge
  • Silent and suffering, Pope offers Easter blessing
  • No papal appearance on Easter Monday
  • Heavy speculation on Pope's health
  • Pope gets feeding tube
  • Vatican bracing for papal succession
  • Vatican says Pope's condition "very serious"
  • Prayers for the Pope come from around the world
  • The Pope's long physical decline
  • Pope in critical condition after heart failure
  • More prayers for Pope from around the world
  • Prayerful Roman faithful await "a true Christian death"
  • Divine Mercy: April 2
  • Friday evening bulletin: Pope's breathing shallow
  • Cardinal Ruini leads prayers for Pontiff
  • Pope clinging to life, slipping
  • Saturday bulletin: Pope slipping in and out of consciousness
  • Pope reported "smiling and serene" by visitors
  • Pope John Paul II has died
  • Youth keep night watch following Pope's death
  • Looking Back: Pope John Paul II Remembered
  • John Paul remembered #1: thoughts of a boyhood friend
  • John Paul remembered #2: from childhood to the papacy
  • John Paul remembered #3: the pontificate in statistics
  • John Paul remembered #4: the Pope's inner circle
  • John Paul remembered #5: the Pope's international policy
  • John Paul remembered #6: the 14 encyclicals
  • John Paul remembered #7: a treasury of papal writings
  • John Paul remembered #8: the case for quick beatification