UPDATE: A reader writes:
We’re not praying for him, really. We’re praying for ourselves and for our Church. At a time when the Catholic Church desperately needs principled leadership, we’re losing one of our greatest leaders. So, although we do pray for his peaceful death and in gratitude for his life of service, we pray mostly for guidance and grace in a time of great uncertainty.
I appreciate that. I just can't help but think, in a week where I've seen big crowds of people praying for Terri Schiavo and the Pope, that there are so many people who are dying alone right now. I imagine them watching the TV reports, seeing all the people lavishing care on these two souls, and feeling terribly sad and lonely. These throngs of people standing in high-profile vigils could disperse and go individually to thousands of bedsides and visit those who suffer in isolation.