Cardinal Says Pope's Sharpness of Mind Is Linked to His Prayer

«No Other Explanation,» Insists Prefect of Vatican Congregation

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MADRID, Spain, AUG. 20, 2002 ( John Paul II’s intellectual ability must be attributed to prayer because «humanly, there is no other explanation,» says the chamberlain of the Holy Roman Church.

Cardinal Eduardo Martínez Somalo made that comment to the media Monday while on vacation in his native Spain.

The cardinal, who as chamberlain would oversee the goods and temporal affairs of the Holy See between the death of one pope and the election of the next, was describing the John Paul II’s health and activity which, he said, «continues to be a gift and a mystery.»

His comments came as John Paul II prayed to the Blessed Virgin in the Polish shrine of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, for strength to carry out to the end the mission entrusted to him.

«We can see how he walks in the television pictures, but the mystery of his intellectual activity, of that psychological and profound intuition that he has of Church and world issues is intact,» the cardinal said.

He added that the Holy Father’s secret is his «life of prayer, of spiritual and sacramental communion with the Lord, because humanly, there is no other explanation.»

The cardinal is also the prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

The Spanish cardinal expressed his admiration for the Pope who, at «82, and in the situation in which he finds himself,» was able to gather so many people in Canada, Guatemala, Mexico and Poland, which confirms his «intellectual capacity and affectionate and enthusiastic response to all the multitudes that he met» wherever he went.

Cardinal Martínez Somalo emphasized that he himself has been present on occasions when, after explaining some concrete issues to the Holy Father, he summarizes «all that has been said» and asks «some fundamental questions to respond to those issues.»

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