Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Pope Liked To Sleep Under Stars

POPE John Paul II often liked to slip out of the Vatican for long walks in the countryside, where he would sleep on the ground under the stars, according to his former bodyguard.

General Enrico Marinelli was appointed head of Vatican security in 1985, and took care of John Paul II for 14 years.

In a new book, 'The Pope and the General', he reveals John Paul's love of nature.

He said John Paul had a secret escape from the Vatican, a small cottage in the province of Frosinone. "We were anxious about it.

A place like that, very isolated and in the middle of the woods, was open to all sorts of danger, especially at night," said General Marinelli.

During his papacy, there were two attempts on John Paul's life, once in Portugal and once in St Peter's Square.

From the cottage, he would take long walks. "He liked to sleep on the bare ground," said the general.

But the pope was keen that the rest of the Roman Curia did not discover his secret.

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