actually - nothing broke.
the inside handle mechanism detached from whatever lever/gizmo activated the locking jaws.
we have had trouble closing the door before, but the 'jaws' were centered on the post so this was not an issue.
the outside pull handle worked fine before and after the event.
however, the upper edge of the door did / does appear to be out of alignment.
i feel the best fix would be to replace the entire mechanism, plus the inside and outside plates. i just don't trust the existing mechanism.
zedex - i had actually checked out your post before this all happened but the post was centered and there was no play at the hinges. however - a good post that is worth checking out.