Friday, January 13, 2006

It's Not News If You Read Whispers

Ignacio Ingrao returns to the well in Panorama's first edition of 2006, highlighting the Bavarian Pope's upcoming pilgrimage home in a piece whose title translates as "Music, Cats, Chocolates -- the Passions of Benedict." (Sorry, Anglophones, tutto in Italiano.)

In relaying the logistics of the trip -- scheduled from 10-15 September -- Ingrao notes that, "[B16's] Brother Msgr. Georg hopes that the Pope will be able to stay in his home in the historical center of Regensburg and hear the pure-voiced choir of the Cathedral, which he directed until 1997. Or maybe in Pentling, south of the city, in the little white house with two floors built in the 1970s style which Joseph Ratzinger built and of which he remains the owner. It's a short distance from St. Joseph's cemetery in Zigensdorf, where his loved ones were laid to rest."

We can only wonder if Ingrao's reading all this, as I wrote on 23 December that
Speaking of [Princess Gloria Thurn und Taxis], we'll soon be seeing if she gets her wish of hosting the Pope at Schloss St. Emmeram, the Thurn und Taxis mega-compound at Regensburg, when Papa Ratzi makes his triumphant Bavarian homecoming next year. It seems she's competing against the Pope's brother, Msgr Georg, who would like his brother to spend his evenings at the quiet home on a cul-de-sac to which Joseph had hoped to retire by now -- you know, the place with all the porcelain cats, cat plates, everything feline. Meow.
As you can see from this, it may be news over in the Italian press, but -- by no less than three weeks -- it's not news if you read Whispers. Nor are reports of the Pope's ad-libbing, which was chronicled here long before the rest of the pack (who are actually, you know, in Rome) caught on.

I hate pointing all this out, but I find that people have short memories for what they do like, and long memories for what they don't (even when what they don't like is still dead-on accurate). So I do need to put a gentle reminder out every once in awhile: if I can get all this from six time zones away, could you imagine what'll happen once I'm actually able to get my duff back there? (Hint, hint: This is why your print outlet/broadcast network should send me to cover the next consistory. And everything in between.)

Speaking of the Bavarian homecoming beat, there've been some developments from it in recent days. According to a source familiar with the arrangements (and the spats along the way), it now appears that both TNT and Don Georg are losing out as the papal entourage has booked up The Bishop's House, a church-owned lodging which was once the residence of the bishops of Regensburg, hence the name. Apparently, staying in Pentling would've posed a security issue, given that it is residential and would be hard to keep sealed.

So much for the porcelain cats.

The word from Rome these days is that yours truly is seen around town as "the Vaticanista of record." (Save your mouth-foam -- I couldn't make that up if I wanted to.)

While you let that simmer, I'm also told that a change in the ranks is in the not-so-distant offing.... Stay tuned.