Monday, April 03, 2006

Scherzo, the Papal Cat

Revealed: The Apostolic Palace was alive in January with the sound of meow-sic. Che gioia!

The latest issue of my paper just arrived in the mail, and in its Notebook -- where fun stories go to thrive -- one of my colleagues (the articles are unsigned) reports that "the Pope has now got a cat of his own -- a starving stray he secretly nursed back to health in his apartment."

The Tablet says that the cat was found by Msgr Georg Ganswein, Benedict's private secretary, on his way back to the Vatican from a January Mass; Ganswein smuggled the cat, "a tabby with pale green eyes they named Scherzo," in his vestments.

"As she gained in strength," the cat is said to have "developed a mischievous streak and was one day caught swinging from brocade curtains."

What a mental picture that is.

As "the Pope could not bear to be parted from her," Georg "smuggled the cat out of the Apostolic Palace in an empty mitre box" and brought her to the apartment at the Citta Leonina which Cardinal Ratzinger occupied before his election to Peter's chair. The secretary is said to make a special trip there each day to feed Benedict's feline friend, whose name translates as "Jokey."

So now we know why Papa Ratzi keeps slipping back to the old house.

SVILUPPO: Only after a nap did I realize this.... What does "Scherzo" mean, again?

That's right: JOKE.

Hope The Tablet's April Fool's Day Ploy got all of you duped as good as it got me.