Cardinal Keeler recovering after car accident, says friend anticipated death

.- Cardinal William Keeler of Baltimore is up and about, though using a walker and wearing a protective boot on his right foot. The 75-year-old cardinal broke his ankle Oct.7 in a car crash in Italy that took the life of his longtime friend Fr. Bernard Quinn, 78.

The two men and Msgr. Thomas Smith, 75, were driving back to their hotel in Terni, north of Rome, after visits to the tombs of St. Valentine and St. Rita, when another car struck them. Smith broke several ribs but was well enough to preside at Fr. Quinn's funeral on Saturday.

The cardinal told a press conference Monday that he does not remember many details about the accident because it happened so suddenly. He remembers feeling disoriented after the impact and springing into action after realizing what had happened.

He and Msgr. Smith immediately gave absolution to Fr. Quinn and to each other. "The instinctive reaction of the priest is to make sure that the sacraments of the Church are available to someone who is dying or in danger of death," Cardinal Keeler reportedly told the press conference.

Cardinal Keeler told journalists he believes Fr. Quinn had anticipated his death that day. He recalls being surprised that the priest had mentioned at least four times throughout the day that he was prepared for death.

The cardinal also announced that reopening of the Basilica of the Assumption, scheduled for Nov. 4, will continue as planned.

Cardinal Keeler also said he is waiting to hear about whether Pope Benedict XVI will accept his resignation, which he submitted, according to canon law, when he turned 75.

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