.- Pope Benedict XVI dropped in to Rome's Gemelli Hospital for a visit to French Cardinal Roger Etchegaray on Saturday evening. The cardinal appeared to be in good condition after an operation to rebuild his femur following the injury he sustained at St. Peter's on Dec. 24.
Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi reported to the press on Saturday evening that the Holy Father had visited Cardinal Etchegaray at the hospital where he has been recovering from surgery.
Lombardi related that the visit "was characterized by a very cordial conversation in French between the Pope and the cardinal" in which the Holy Father "expressed his concern and his spiritual closeness."
The Pope also paid the visit to "assure himself personally of the favorable progress and post-operative rehabilitation" of the cardinal, reported Lombardi, who also included that the prelate's clinical conditions are excellent.
Perhaps the most telling testament of the cardinal's progress was the fact that following his conversation with Benedict XVI he accompanied the Pope to the door on foot.
Also on Saturday, ANSA reported the release of the girl who caused the incident that led to Etchegaray's break. She had been held for "obligatory health treatment" for two weeks a psychiatric treatment in hospital near Rome after causing a scene at Midnight Mass at St. Peter's when she attempted to approach the Pope. Cardinal Etchegaray was brought to the ground in the commotion.
Contrary to a report from La Repubblica last week stating that Etchegaray would be leaving the hospital on Jan. 10, Lombardi said the cardinal would be released sometime this week.