Monday, December 05, 2005

Son of Grace Meets Son of Grace

Big Daddy looks wonderfully papal there, no?

Benedict XVI today received His Serene Highness Albert II, the newly-installed sovereign prince of Monaco, on a visit. Despite Albert's fluent knowledge of Italian, the Pope extended the courtesy of speaking with the prince in French, which is closer in similarity to Monaco's official language of Monegasque -- the archbishops of Monaco (an immediately subject see) are always drawn from the ranks of French clergy.

Curiously enough, Albert -- who has built a reputation as a modernizer in his eight months as head of the seaside haven -- was not wearing a military uniform for his visit, contrasting with the Pope's choir dress, mozzetta and all. (And, by the by, it doesn't look like we'll be seeing the return of the ermine mozzetta as B16's still wearing the satin one way past 1 November, the beginning of ecclesiastical winter.)

One can only wonder if the serene and kindly James-Charles Noonan, Jr., hero to a set now banned from seminary formation, was present at this morning's audience. Albert and Noonan, author of The Church Visible, the legendary primer on vestments, vesture and ecclesiastical protocol, have been "lifelong" friends, and one of the (many, many) rumors of Noonan's ever-impending ordination which have surfaced over time was that the happy event was to take place in Monte Carlo, performed by a prelate of the Curia in the presence of the then-hereditary prince.

True to form, it never happened.

Pier Paolo Cito