Sunday, April 16, 2006

Fluffiness Goes Wide

In three days, Benedict XVI will mark the first anniversary of his election. Unwittingly, these pages have found themselves in the midst of major press coverage.

(Note to editors: I still don't have a print-piece commitment for the blessed event. Feel free to solicit.)

You can imagine my shock when, at the end of a Holy Week hiatus, I found a boatload of visitors dropping in from the pages of the august Times of London.

In a piece in today's paper on the doings of the "iPod Pope," the veteran Vatican-watcher John Cornwell referenced Whispers as a one-stop shop for things Georg -- as in Ganswein, the Pope's camera-loving private secretary.

Yikes. Talk about your mixed blessings.

But welcome to those readers coming from The Times, and you'll find pieces on Ganswein and what Cornwell dubs "Georg-fever" here, here, and here.

Cornwell also makes note of Ingrid Stampa, Benedict's "fascinating" long-time aide who is now an official at the German desk of the Vatican's Secretariat of State. If you're keen for more about her, I penned a piece for Beliefnet on Stampa days after the papal election last year. (Contrary to Cornwell's assertion, however, Stampa is not "what is known in the trade as a 'consecrated virgin.'")

And from the Globe and Mail in Toronto, we have a long piece on "The Pope Nobody Knows"... Here's an interesting snip:
What is the Roman Catholic Church that the previous Pope, the colossus John Paul II, has left behind? And where will it be taken by the secretive intellectual and scholar Benedict, who has succeeded him - the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, incongruously nicknamed His Fluffiness, for his hair?
Now, where on earth could that have come from???
Rocco Palmo, an American pope-blogger who also writes for the British Catholic journal The Tablet, claims several sources have told him that, when the Pope is home alone in the Apartment, he puts on a blue tracksuit.
Mhmm.... Happy Anniversary, Boss.