GOSSIP ABOUT PAPA
Oh, dear - let's take a deep breath and distinguish between
fact and gossip. The Panorama article
read like a gossip column and was mostly dreck, so I did not even bother to translate it
after the Italian girls posted it upstairs, and similarly, I ignored the highly unlikely story
about the supposed Clemens-Gaenswein hostilities...But I did post part of a Panorama "evaluation"
of Papa (in News about Benedict) which quotes Messori and one other veteran journalist,
who have good things to say about Papa....
I must admit I exercise some "selection" over the things I post, my primary criterion being,
given that Papa is a holy man, what is the likelihood that he would do things
that are attributed to him? For instance, would he really tolerate a nasty "turf war"
(of the kind that the gossips are purveying) between Giorgio and Clemens?...
Sometimes, however, gossip is elevated to the status of "news" by the simple fact
that it is repeated in outlets that are usually for legitimate news rather than gossip -
such as the stories that keep turning up about "what really happened at the Conclave"...
Last night, I do not know why, but I decided to watch KTO's one-hour archive video
of the ceremony that preceded the actual Conclave, and a chill ran through me as I watched
117 Cardinals, led by Ratzi, each walking up to an open Bible in the Sistine Chapel,
laying their right hand on it, and then pronouncing the solemn words of the oath of secrecy
that is supposed to be binding on them. A commentator reviewed all the things that
the person who takes the oath is not supposed to do. All this under the mighty image
of the Risen Christ in Michelangelo's Last Judgment....
And then I thought back to the Italian cardinal who reportedly kept a Conclave diary
whose contents he allowed to be publicized, and just before Christmas, a Brazilian cardinal
who was reported to claim, in effect, that Ratzi and his supporters openly campaigned
for the Papacy (one of the things absolutely prohibited by John Paul's rules for the Conclave)
among the Cardinals...There's supposed to be "honor among thieves" but there doesn't seem
to be among these cardinals who are reported to be violators of the oath they swore to!
And this is the sort of gossip or calculated rumor that graduates to being "news"!
As for the two princesses, I think their "intimacy" and "influence" with Papa
are grossly exaggerated by the gossips. Does anyone here seriously believe
that if one or both of them suddenly sent Papa an ermine-trimmed cape and an ermine-trimmed hat,
that Papa would then feel compelled to wear these things just because they sent it to him?
Is he Pope or puppet?
Granted, he is such a darling poppet, as the British might say, and I quite like the term
Paparatzifan used last night for him (She said, "I still don't like the camauro, but dear Papa,
it fills me with infinite tenderness to see you in it, my beloved puppazzetto Natale." -
Puppazzetto being one of those many neologisms one can build out of root Italian words -
in this case, both pupa and pupazzo being variants of terms for dolls, snowmen and yes, puppets!).
But these are endearments, of course, not literal fact...
One other thing - People are making up all sorts of things about Papa and the few
who are close to him, because the Papal Apartments have finally stopped being Open House
(to opportunistic types who may have taken advantage of JP-II's
poor health for their own ends); and because B16's household appears to be discreet!