improving day by day
MESSAGES have been pouring into the Vatican City post office this week expressing the happiness of Catholics all over the world at hearing the voice of the Holy Father again on Sunday, when he broadcast to the sick.
The previous day the Osservatore Romano had said that it was hoped that His Holiness would be able to speak the first few words of a message to be broadcast to invalids everywhere on the day of Mary's Year specially devoted to them.
In fact, the Holy Father broadcast 500 words from his sickroom, speaking for about four minutes. The rest of the message was read by a priest in the Vatican Radio station.
The Pope spoke more slowly than usual and there was an occasional fading. but in general the impression was of the voice of a man who has been very ill but was now finding his way back to healthan impression confirmed by daily reports from the Vatican of steady if slow impros ement in the condition of His Holines‘ On Wednesday the Popes physician, Prof. Galeazzi-Lisi, stated that there arc "signs of distinct improvement" in the Popes condition.
Last Monday the Vatican Press Office, for the first time in two weeks, did not deem it necessary to issue a midday bulletin. Four days earlier the message was that it could be said that the Pope is on the way to convalescence."
On Friday it said that "the Holy Father, thanks to God, is improving I day by day."
Vatican Radio has since been broadcasting translations of the Pope's broadcast in 32 languages. including those of Russia and other countries behind the Iron Curtain.
Earlier it had been reported from Berlin that censorship, threats, fines and prison sentences were being used in Communist-dominated countries to prevent the spreading of news about the Pope's health in case it should lead to new demonstrations of loyalty to the Holy Sec.
Many Hungarian. Czech and Slovak priests. according to reports reaching Berlin, defied an order not to mention the Holy Father's illness in sermons. and have paid for their defiance with heavy fines and even imprisonment.
Message to the sick
The Pope did not mention his own illness: in a very personal. affectionate message he pleaded with the sick, as those "nearest to our soul and closest to our heart." not to rail against their afflictions, not to inveigh against God—could they think of Our Lady in her sorrows doing so? —and to remember that "your sacrifice. united with that of Jesus. will bring hack many sinners to the Father, many without faith will find the true Faith, and many weak Christians will receive the strength to revivify wholly the doctrine lied the laws of Christ."
After days of assisting at Mass celebrated in his room His Holiness went to Mass and received Holy Communion on Sunday in the adjoining chapel.