Billy had neutral pressure hydrocephalus, which fill the vacuals of the brain with fluid and creates enormous pressure in the cranium. It makes for unbelievable pain and for the corruption of body movement, destroying the spinal cord etc. Almost zero treatment. He himself said that it was the most horrible disease any human being can have.
Usually, people die of this right away. He lived on and on. That’s a lot of pain.
I didn’t know that he died when I got an email this morning from a convert parishioner which simply said:
Father: I found one more person who says God/Jesus loves us all and he died today.
As you know, I conclude all my homilies with “Jesus loves us so very much.” I didn’t know who he was talking about until I looked on line. It was the top story everywhere.
In other words, he went through hell and still insisted that Jesus loves us so very much. That’s a lot of faith. I would hope that if I went through hell I would still say that Jesus loves us so very much.
Meanwhile, Bill Donohue of the Catholic League has this to say:
Growing up Catholic in New York in the 1950s, the Catholic we most identified with was Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, the first televangelist. The Protestant we most clearly revered was Rev. Billy Graham. In both cases, they had no rival.
For Catholics, Graham was more than just the titular head of the Protestant community, he was a man who inspired us. He was a man of prayer, and his deep spirituality was contagious. Moreover, his ecumenical efforts were legion.
When Graham was at his peak, our culture was Christian-friendly, allowing him to follow a decidedly pastoral approach. Those ministers who came after him were forced to take a more aggressive public stance, owing to the advent of the culture war.
I have one fond remembrance of him. In the late 1990s, he contacted me about some cruel story that had circulated about him—it made him out to be an anti-Catholic bigot. The story was completely bogus. I appreciated how seriously he took this issue, and how quickly he responded.
Rev. Billy Graham will be missed. I am happy that he is with our Lord.