Ratzinger Not First Choice!

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Ratzinger Not First Choice!

As I understand it, Cardinal Ratzinger was not the
College of Cardinals' first choice. That choice was, interestingly,
Cardinal Hans Grapje.

Grapje was raised in a Catholic school in The Hague
and, as a young man, aspired to become a priest, but
was drafted into the Army during WWII and spent two
years co-piloting B17s until his aircraft was shot
down in 1943 and he lost his left arm.
Captain Grapje spent the rest of the war as a
chaplain, giving spiritual aid to soldiers, both
Allied and enemy.After the war, he became a priest,
serving as a missionary in Africa, piloting his own
plane (in spite of his handicap) to villages across
the continent.

In 1997, Father Grapje was serving in Zimbabwe when an explosion in a silver
mine caused a cave-in.Cardinal Grapje went down into the mine to administer
last rights to those too severely injured to move. Another shaft collapsed,
and he was buried for three days, suffering multiple injuries, including the
loss of his right eye. The high silver content in the mine's air gave him
purpura, a life-long condition characterized by purplish skin blotches.
Although Cardinal Grapje devoted his life to the service of God as a
scholar, mentor, and holy man, church leaders felt that he should never
ascend to the Papacy. They felt that the Church would never accept a

By Valhall: posted on 21-5-2005

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