Tuesday, April 18, 2006

"Extra Omnes"

A year ago tonight, this was the last picture the world -- minus 114 people, of course -- got of the Sistine Chapel as the mega-conclave to elect the 265th Pope began.... And what a picture it was, even if the venerable Marini was so refined he couldn't even shout "Extra omnes," but merely said it.

Hard to believe how time flies, eh?

I don't know about all of you, but my head is full of memories right now. I started this day last year before 7am in the parking lot of the big AM-talk station here in town, pulling on a cigarette, downing a coffee and making one last round of calls to Rome to get feed on the liturgy Pro Eligendo Pontifice before doing a half-hour on the Michael Smerconish show, which is the big drive-time talk program here.

In that parking lot, I heard for the first time the three words which have continued to resonate since: "dictatorship of relativism."

Let me tell you, people were freaking out.

As none of us knew how long it'd all take, I escaped to the beach the day before to enjoy one last gasp of freedom, knowing that I'd be locked in my office for the duration of the conclave once the doors to the Sistina closed. It was a fun day -- the Smerconish appearance went remarkably well for a rookie, a dream was fulfilled when my first major print piece published in the Daily News (most of which turned out to be quite wrong), and I was thinking the whole time in that studio that I'd come out to find my car firebombed (or worse) by the Philadelphia people.

Luckily, that hasn't happened. Yet.

You'll have to forgive me, it's a bit of a time-trip tonight.... What an experience. However, I'm praying we won't see the next one for quite some time.