National Catholic Register


Vatican Notes & Quotes

From selected sources

BY Jim Cosgrove

June 20-26, 1999 Issue | Posted 6/20/99 at 2:00 PM


Detroit Cardinal Now Calls Shots with Pope in Rome

DETROIT NEWS, June 4–Religion writer George Bullard featured the city's former archbishop, Cardinal Edmund Szoka, who has gone on to assume vast responsibilities at the Vatican.

“Szoka — a Detroit guy by way of Grand Rapids and Gaylord — happens to be right in the middle of this major Catholic marker, 2,000 years of world impact,” said Bullard in his regular column.

Bullard focused on Cardinal Szoka's title of “president,” as in, president of the Pontifical Council for the State of Vatican City, describing him as “No. 2 man at the Vatican, second only to you-know-who. He runs the place when Pope John Paul II is out of town.”

Bullard described the cardinal as “a friend of the Pope,” and as “Practical ... He makes things work.” He credited the cardinal “with a mix of discipline, theology and smarts. One of his colleagues says that in seminary, other students in class were afraid to contradict Szoka for fear of speaking heresy.”

A native of Grand Rapids, Mich., Father Szoka was tapped to found the newly created Diocese of Gaylord, Mich. He first bought an abandoned dance hall for a headquarters. It wasn't fancy, “but the [$65,000] price was right,” said Bullard. In 1975, he dedicated a new $1.7 million Gaylord cathedral. “Most of it was paid off by 1981, when John Paul named him archbishop of Detroit,” said Bullard.

Pope Needed 3 Stitches After Fall

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, June 12—Pope John Paul II fell and cut his head while leaving the papal nuncio's residence in Warsaw during his recent trip to Poland, requiring three stitches on his right temple.

Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said there was “no neurological damage” or any other effect on the Pope's health from what he called a “slight contusion.”

The Pope “slipped accidentally” and his head hit the ground, Navarro-Valls said. He said he did not know what caused the Pope to slip.

The A.P. reported that the Pope's voice had been “clear and strong since he arrived in Poland on June 5 to begin a 13-day pilgrimage to his homeland.” Navarro-Valls said there would be “no variations at all” in the Pope's schedule.