Cordoba, Argentina – Pope Francis is said to be deeply sorrowed over the loss of three members of his family in a tragic car accident early Tuesday morning. His nephew Emanuel Horacio Bergoglio was driving his small family of four home from a vacation along a stretch of highway near a town some 580km (360 miles) north of Buenos Aires when the accident occurred. While the cause of the accident isn’t clear, Bergoglio’s car collided into a lorry (transportation truck) killing his 36-year-old wife Valeria Carmona, and their two sons Jose and Antonio, ages 2 and 8 months respectively. Mr. Bergoglio, age 38, remains in serious condition at a nearby hospital.
Pope Francis himself in now in mourning and has asked anyone wishing to bear some of the grief with him to offer up prayers of support on his behalf. It was only yesterday that the pontiff had returned from a successful visit to the faithful in South Korea and had wryly told reporters he expected to return to that God who gave him life in the next two to three years. At this early stage, it is not known if the leader of the world’s largest Christian church will attend the funeral or perhaps preside at the ceremony.
The pope’s words on his mortality were spoken in the context of maintaining humility. He said that he often ponders over his own sins and short comings against the ever present fact that he will one day die and face God. He also holds open the possibility that like Pope Benedict before him, he might one day step down and retire. He finds that in so doing, he has no place to swell with pride. As for his nephew, he had to undergo emergency surgery which is believed to have saved his life. His nephew is the son of the pope’s late brother.