Pope doing well, will continue vacation

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI spent a peaceful night in Les Combes after undergoing a brief surgical procedure yesterday to repair his right wrist, which he fractured in a fall, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi said this morning.

closeup of pope's left hand

Pope Benedict waves with his left hand, the intravenous catheter visible, as he leaves the hospital yesterday. (CNS/Reuters)

Last night, I forwarded to Father Lombardi a photo taken as the pope left the hospital. Our eagle-eyed photo/graphics editor, Nancy Wiechec, noticed something in a close-up of the pope’s left wrist — the one that is not in a cast. This morning, the papal spokesman told me that before the surgical procedure, the pope’s doctors had inserted a small intravenous catheter into his left wrist to deliver pain medication if needed once the local anesthetic wore off. “It was removed last night,” he said. 

The pope “slept well,” woke up, celebrated Mass this morning and had breakfast as normal, the papal spokesman said. The right-handed 82-year-old pope also is getting used to using his left hand and, of course, is disappointed that he can do no handwriting, Father Lombardi said. He did not, however, say how the pope is dealing with not playing the piano.

He also said the pope would continue his vacation in the northern Italian Alps and would travel tomorrow to Romano Canavese, the hometown of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, his secretary of state. The pope is scheduled to recite the Angelus at noon with people gathered in front of the parish church in the town about 50 miles from Les Combes.

On Friday, the pope will celebrate evening prayer with priests from the Diocese of Aosta, the spokesman said.