Pope visits ailing Argentine cardinal in hospital

AP News
Posted: Mar 15, 2013 1:52 PM
Pope visits ailing Argentine cardinal in hospital

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis on Friday made a surprise visit to a Rome hospital to cheer up a fellow Argentine, a cardinal who had a heart attack the day the pontiff was elected.

Vatican Radio says the staff at Pius XI clinic on the outskirts of Rome applauded when Francis arrived unexpectedly in the afternoon to visit 90-year-old Cardinal Jorge Maria Mejia.

It was the pope himself who announced that Mejia had suffered a heart attack on Wednesday, the day Francis became the first Latin American pope. It was not clear whether Mejia was stricken before or after the news. Francis also told cardinals at the Vatican on Friday that Mejia's condition was stable.

Because of his age, Mejia was not among the cardinals who voted to choose the new pope. They must be younger than 80 to elect a pontiff.

Mejia is a retired Vatican librarian and archivist who lives in a Vatican apartment in Rome's Trastevere neighborhood.