Pope Benedict holds emotional encounter with terminally ill police officer

Sydney, Australia, Jul 16, 2008 / 04:00 pm (CNA) .- After resting two days at the Opus Dei Center in the Australian Blue Mountains, Pope Benedict XVI held an emotional encounter with members of his security team there, including one terminally ill police officer, before leaving for Sydney.

The Pontiff held a warm, informal meeting with the policemen and firefighters responsible for his security at the Opus Dei Center. Among them was a former officer who is now seriously ill.  The retired officer had worked in the police force for 25-years and was brought to the Pope's presence on a stretcher.

After receiving Benedict's blessing and a Rosary, the policeman unfolded the Rosary in his hand and immediately gave the Pontiff his police hat as a present.

Benedict responded with an additional blessing, words of comfort, and placed the police hat on his head as a sign of appreciation.