Marshalling his energies….

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Benedict will reduce his activity at this week’s Good Friday procession by watching most of the service from a vantage point instead of walking around Rome’s ancient Colosseum, a spokesman said on Tuesday. [Entirely understandable.  What a slog that is, and he, an octogenarian, has a lot to do in these days!]

Rev. Federico Lombardi confirmed the change, reported earlier on Tuesday by the French religious news agency I-Media.

Lombardi said there were no worries about the health of the pope, who will turn 81 during his trip to the United States in April.

"It is reasonable that he would want to conserve his energy," Lombardi said in response to a question.

Instead of walking around the Colosseum for all 14 of the "stations of the cross" as he did in previous years, the pope will watch most of the event from Rome’s nearby Palatine hill. [Where he wil engage in Zen Meditation.]

Benedict is expected to walk the procession only for the last three "stations". The 14 stations commemorate the events between Christ being condemned to death and his burial.

Since his election in 2005, the pope has reduced papal activities and delegated a number of events, such as beatification Masses, to his top aides.

No other changes in the pope’s hectic schedule in the four days from Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday were planned.

Benedict was 78 when he was elected, whereas his predecessor John Paul II was 58 at the time of his election in 1978.

(Reporting by Philip Pullella; editing by Sami Aboudi)

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Kradcliffe says:

    I hadn’t really thought about it… I had no idea the Holy Father was 81! God Bless him… his job must be exhausting, really.

    I hope we have him with us for a long time to come.

  2. MG says:

    I was pleased to read of the Pope’s decision to forego walking all fourteen stations. I was concerned when I saw him on television Palm Sunday; to me, the Holy Father looked drawn and tired.

    Father Z, I happily thank you for your comment that Pope John Paul II was only 58 years old when elected vs. Pope Benedict’s age of 78 at his election. That’s a big, big difference!

    It seems the Holy Father knows when to slow down/conserve energy…A good sign of a very intelligent man who knows his limits. I’m also pleased he seens not to take to heart any criticisn and doesn’t concern himself with inane discussions about what he shoud and should not be doing. 1qqqq I for one be praying for him (along with many others, I’m sure)to “hang tough” through the Triduum; however, if rest is needed, then rest he should receive. I hope and pray that we will have him as our blessed Pope for as long as possible, that he feels well and is enjoying his work.

    I pray that our Papa will be happy, healthy and wise for years to come. Viva il Papa!!

  3. David O'Rourke says:

    What can one say but “Ad multos annos”!! Anmd again with greater prayer and intensity, “Ad multos annos”!!!!!

  4. Mark M says:

    Viva il Papa indeed!

    I had to hover over your “Zen meditations” thing…for a moment I thought you were lampooning the religious knowledge of Reuters. Laughed so much, I nearly died!

  5. LCB says:

    If the Lord grants him 5 more years, we could have a serious reform on our hands. If the Lord grants him 10 more years? Oh my.

  6. I am concerned over the fact that Pope Benedict will not be with us for long.
    Granted that Pope John Paul was young when he became elected. It’s rather
    selfish of me to keep him for much longer, but I pray that he makes it
    through his 90s!

    One last note Fr. Z. When I am typing this message my cursor wanders off the
    edge and continues typing but it doesn’t automatically wrap towards the next

    Is it possible to remedy this bug?

    God bless,


  7. RBrown says:

    Although I think age is a factor in limiting BXVI’s public appearances, he also thought that there was too much of a personal cult of JPII inspired by his omnipresence.

  8. boyo says:

    Schlog? Was ist das? Since this is the day commemorating the Start of the Saviour’s Passover, don’t you think “schlep” would be more apropos?

  9. Dove says:

    Having seen the tremendous rainfall during the stations of the cross I was very happy that our Holy Father was safe and dry in his little tent. Could it be that in Vatican City they get a more accurate weather forecast that we do here in the US?

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