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POPE-WRITE (UPDATED) Jul-23-2009 (590 words) With photos posted July 22 and 23. xxxi

With his writing hand in a cast, pope uses recorder to put down ideas

By Catholic News Service

LES COMBES, Italy (CNS) -- With his right hand immobilized in a cast, Pope Benedict XVI is using a voice recorder to put down his thoughts and ideas, said the Vatican spokesman.

Five days after he underwent minor surgery to repair a broken wrist sustained in a fall at his vacation home in northern Italy, the pope was still doing well and was "in a good mood," said Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi.

The right-handed pope "is still learning how to live with a wrist in a cast," the spokesman said in a written statement July 22.

Pope Benedict normally has used his vacation period to work on his writing projects and, before the accident, it had been expected he would spend some of his free time to continue work on the second volume of his book about Jesus.

The pope "has equipped himself with a recorder so as to be able to dictate his reflections since he is unable to use a pen easily," Father Lombardi said in the statement.

The pope had received a portable laptop computer as a gift July 19, but Father Lombardi told reporters July 20 that the 82-year-old pope "is not used to writing with a PC; he isn't very technological," adding that "especially in creative work he prefers to use a pen."

Every day after lunch and again in the late afternoon, the pope takes a brief walk, the spokesman said.

During one of his excursions July 22, the pope ran into a group of five children and three women near the village of Les Combes.

One of the children told the pope that the valley where he lives gets 19 feet of snow in the winter, to which the pope reacted with "amazement and curiosity," Father Lombardi said in a statement July 23.

The spokesman said medical staff from Aosta's hospital were bringing a portable X-ray machine to the retreat house in Les Combes July 23 so that doctors could do a follow-up scan of the pope's wrist.

The doctor who performed the surgery on his wrist, the pope's two personal physicians and an orthopedic specialist from Rome's Fatebenefratelli hospital were scheduled to be present for the July 25 check up and X-ray, he said.

The specialist from Rome, Dr. Vincenzo Sessa, will provide follow-up care once the pope heads to the papal summer villa in Castel Gandolfo July 29, said Father Lombardi.

The Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, visited the pope July 22 to discuss church matters, leave off documents for the pope to look at, and deliver a number of get-well wishes that had been sent by world leaders, said the spokesman.

Father Lombardi said Pope Benedict has been speaking regularly by phone with his older brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, who lives in Regensburg, Germany.

The 85-year-old monsignor will spend four weeks with the pope at the papal summer villa at Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome, Father Lombardi said.

After the pope's stay in the Alps, he will go directly to the papal villa July 29. Popes generally stay at Castel Gandolfo until late September.

Before leaving the Alps, the pope will preside at an evening prayer service July 24 in the cathedral of Aosta, which is near the village of Les Combes, and deliver a homily.

Some 400 people -- including priests, men and women religious, and two laypeople from every parish in the diocese, as well as representatives from diocesan offices and church organizations -- were to attend the service, Father Lombardi said in the written statement.


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