Bishop Hans Grapje
Now that we have a new Pope, it should be revealed that a particularly qualified and distinguished man was not selected, though insiders at the Vatican say he was a close second. Here's his story...
Bishop Hans Grapje was raised in a Catholic school in the Hague. As a young man, he aspired to become a priest, but was drafted into the army during WWII. He spent two years flying aboard B17s as a co-pilot until, in 1943, his aircraft was shot down and he lost his left arm.
While a POW, Hans spent the remainder of the war as a chaplain, giving spiritual advice and last rights to dying soldiers, allied and enemy. He was renowned for his ecumenical tenderness and compassion. After the war, Grapje became a priest and served as a missionary throughout Africa. In spite of his handicap, he was noted for piloting his own bush plane into the deepest, most primitive villages to spread the church's message and charity to the impoverished.
In 1997, then Archbishop Grapje was serving at an outpost in Zimbabwe when an explosion in one of the country's vast silver mines caused a catastrophic cave-in. The archbishop, in spite of his age and infirmity, went down into several of the shafts to administer last rights to those who would never escape. He was in one of these shafts when it partially caved in, trapping him and several rescuers. Although he was rescued three days later, he suffered several painful injuries, including one that cost him his right eye. Additionally, the silver content in the shaft's air supply had poisoned him, causing his skin to take an indigo hue - a condition known as purpura - that persists to this day.
Although the Cardinal has devoted, and indeed risked, his life in the service of God for nearly 70 years, as a scholar, a mentor, and the epitome of a holy man, church politics preclude his ascension to the Papacy.
Church leaders have made it clear they don't want a one-eyed, one armed, flying, purple, Papal leader.