One Last Spritz of Cologne
On that note, some final notes and vignettes:
- Did somebody put Jim Harvey in a box? The prefect of the papal household was nowhere to be found on this trip.... Is it possible the Germans said, "We've got everything taken care of. Go to Wisconsin, spend some time on the lake and have fun"?
- SPOTTED: Pharaoh in the second row of seats toward the front of the stage on both Saturday and Sunday. He even had better seats than Georg -- fourth row for the secretary.
- There was a moment in the Roncalliplatz on Thursday afternoon when the crowd wouldn't shut up for the life of them. Meisner eventually said, "OK, I'm going to count to three and we will then be quiet to listen to the Holy Father." Looking at the crowd, the Pope pointed at the Cardinal -- and in the background, Walter Kasper could clearly be seen enjoying a very big laugh. The three Germans go back a long way, and if they were told at the outset of their alliance that such a moment would come in the sight of the world, they probably would've found it hard to believe. But as it's come to pass, it seems they'll make the best of it.
- Usually, the Pope is flanked by two ceremonieri (masters of ceremonies) at liturgical events. Marini is the constant presence at his left; the place at B16's right has predominantly been taken by Msgr. Franco Camaldo, who served as Cardinal Ratzinger's MC and has been anointed by his supporters as Marini's successor.... Camaldo was AWOL for the trip, and Marini was the sole presence at the Pope's side through all the trip's liturgical events. This could well be taken as a strong indicator from the Pope.
- The more discreet types in Roman life have been breathing sighs of relief that the first summer of the pontificate had WYD as a "buffer." If it didn't, so the argument goes, the curial reshuffle would've been the dominant item on everyone's mind and there would've been much more anxiety and spatting than there's been. Now, with a successful jaunt in Cologne under the Pope's belt, August winding down and the Curia getting ready to reopen for business, center stage at the Vatican belongs to the Pope's internal agenda -- what he wants and who will end up where.... As one operative said it, "Things could get rather kooky over here."
PHOTO: L'Osservatore Romano