The Sunday Times: A final blessing and "Amen"

I have not been able to read everything, but, so far, it seems that The Sunday Times has the most developed, lovely version of the final moments of Pope John Paul II, complete with lots of clear attributions for sources. Here is a major piece of this triple-byline feature, starting with the pope struggling to dictate a mesage to his secretary:

"I am happy and you should be happy too," he said. "Do not weep. Let us pray together with joy."

His last moments were described early today by Father Jarek Cielecki, director of Vatican Service News, a Catholic TV channel. "The Holy Father died looking towards the window as he prayed, and that shows that in some way he was conscious," Cielecki said.

"A short while before dying, the Pope raised his right hand in a clear, although simply hinted at, gesture of blessing, as if he became aware of the crowd of faithful present in St Peter's Square, who in those moments were following the reciting of the Rosary," he added. "Just after the prayer ended, the Pope made a huge effort and pronounced the word 'Amen'. A moment later, he died."

Please respect our Commenting Policy