At this point - nearly 3pm on Friday afternoon, the Pope is still alive. I've been fortunate enough today to watch the continuing TV coverage of his condition. It has been a scene of indescribable drama - the crowds gathering at the Vatican, the cameras panning to the windows of the papal apartment, the monstrance being shown on Vatican television prior to the Mass for the Pope late this morning as CNN's Vatican expert choked up, the bulletins continuing to run on the bottom of the screen as the Mass continued. For a time the rumors were strong that the Pope had died, but those proved to be premature.
Sheppard Smith on Fox had perhaps the best comments, comparing the Holy Father's situation to the Terri Schiavo crisis. Said Smith, it was as if the Pope was saying, "This is what I mean" -this is the Christian way of death, to let God decide when and where. Smith paraphrased the Pope's teaching, that suffering is a grace given to us to make us worthy of our salvation.
An update just shown on TV quotes the Vatican as saying, "This evening, Christ opens the door to the Pope." It's been a moving day, a day to join our prayers to the Holy Father's suffering, to pray that God's will be done. Everyone dies eventually, but it is in death that JPII is our Pope, more than ever.