Sunday, January 15, 2006

More From the Inside

There's been a lot of buzz these days about the Pope's downtime.

People just love their B16, such is the demand to know everything they can. Or, alternatively, they're so mystified by him.... But, either way, it's good for business, and (yet again) I get to look ever-more prophetic, so I'm not complaining.

If you were reading the conservative blogs, you'd think yesterday's Telegraph report about the night visits to Leonina 1 was hot off the press news. But, as we've already established, it's only news for the clueless. (Surprise, surprise.)

And if you're late to the party, well, Boo. Hoo. Hoo. Don't hate me because my scoops are beautiful.

Speaking of which, here's another: According to sources, Ratzi hasn't "escaped" back to the old apartment since early December.

The Italian newswire ANSA further develops the "behind closed doors" story with some notable tidbits.

Most important, given the continuing antipathy which marks the relationship between Ratzinger's past and present secretaries -- Bishop Josef Clemens, currently Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, and Georg (like Cher, he just needs one name now) -- is the Pope's constant presence at dinners given by Clemens in his apartment at the Palazzo Sant'Uffizio, the building which also houses the offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. According to the wire, these group meals present a "rare moment of enjoyment," especially given that the Pontiff traditionally dines alone excepting those closest to him.

Clemens has long been close with Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, the Pope's elder brother, so whenever he's in town, he shows up. "[Clemens' dinners] provide a pleasant respite for socializing without formalities," ANSA says, "and an occasion for [B16] to meet people who wish to speak with Pope Ratzinger."

I'll put money down that the rival isn't allowed in. That's what you get for changing a cellphone number on the sly....

Apparently, also, Benedict slipped out "completely incognito" in the late days of December to make an afternoon visit to a community of women religious located near the Vatican. "This was kept completely confidential," ANSA said, "unlike the trip to the [Marian] sanctuary of Mentorella on October 29."