Trading in the Tiara
The Pope is wearing a baseball cap. If this isn't fabulous, I don't know what is....
John Paul wore many things, but the Pole in him never donned one of these -- he wore a "jeff cap" on his mountain treks. Suffice it to say, we have a metrosexual pope.
The other interesting thing about this excursion to Mt. Blanc, taken on Wednesday, was the inpromptu press conference B16 held with the press pool covering his vacation. As a reporter known to show on the papal plane said, "Wow! So he doesn't just talk to reporters while in flight! He's going to break the mould."
From the VIS brief on the presser:
As his car arrived at the chalet, the Pope requested the driver to stop, and he got out and spent ten minutes greeting people and answering reporters' questions. Asked about the July 7 attacks in London, the Holy Father said that if it is true that "terrorism is irrational" and therefore impervious to signs, then dialogue can at least "be one element, a cry of alarm, an invitation to abandon terrorism."
Benedict XVI also pointed out that, even following the London attacks, there is no clash of civilizations in the world, only "small fanatical groups." In this context, he stressed the importance of "dialogue between the three religions that recognize Abraham as father."
The Pope also underlined the need "to pray that the desire, which exists throughout the world and is clearly against all violence, may prevail and grow stronger."
On the subject of his vacation in the Valle d'Aosta, the Holy Father said: "It is a marvelous holiday, everything here is beautiful, it is a paradise."
Ratzinger has a fascinating mode of press operations, and we'll see this fleshed out as the communications operation gets its Teutonic makeover. He prefers the more substantive and lengthy magazine interview -- as an example, look at the candor in the Messori and Seewald books. Given his mental discipline and preparedness, I wouldn't put it out of the realm of possibility that he'd do TV.
And given the street buzz that the first Encyclical (coming to a bookshelf near you on December 8) will be book-length, the big guy wants to keep us well-briefed. This is a very good thing.
And another picture for the Georg fans. In another first, a member of the papal entourage is not in cassock in the pope's presence. (And wearing a tab shirt, no less!)
It may be vacation, but this is still a biggie when it comes to your breaches of the traditional protocol. Still, the Fascinating Secretary wouldn't have done it if the Boss had an issue with it, so here ya go: