Pope visits Argentine cardinal who had heart attack

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Associated Press

Posted on March 15, 2013 at 11:34 AM

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has made a surprise visit to a Rome hospital to cheer up a fellow Argentine. He visited a cardinal who had a heart attack the day the pontiff was elected.

Vatican Radio says the staff at the clinic on the outskirts of Rome applauded when Francis arrived unexpectedly in the afternoon to visit 90-year-old Cardinal Jorge Maria Mejia.

It was the pope himself who announced that Mejia had suffered a heart attack on Wednesday, the day Francis became the first Latin American pope. It was not clear whether Mejia was stricken before or after the news. Francis also told cardinals at the Vatican today that Mejia's condition was stable.

Because of his age, Mejia was not among the cardinals who voted to choose the new pope. They must be younger than 80 to elect a pontiff.

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