Saturday, March 02, 2013

Resta con noi

In the last few years one of the simpler of the pleasures of working in Rome has been to keep an eye on the pope. After an evening out with friends or a long day running about the City you stroll across the piazza heading for the train station, and you pause and look up. Lights in the three windows in the top right-hand corner apartment of the apostolic palace were nearly always on, no matter how late you were heading home.

It was always a kind of comfort to look up and know that Pope Benedict was there, maybe playing his piano, working on a book or an encyclical, talking with the members of his household. I always worried that he stayed up too late, worked too hard.


At the last moment, I called a journalist friend who was lucky enough to be assigned to Castelgandolfo. We spoke as he stood in the centre of the crowd in the little town square, two working journalists, but also two Catholic friends giving comfort to one another. He said the little ceremony of greeting was “Very moving and meaningful.” As we talked, I heard the sounds of the crowd singing and praying in the background over the phone.


“There’s a great sadness that the Holy Father is no longer going to be the Holy Father. But mostly there’s joy and an almost palpable feeling of gratitude and appreciation of the greatness of Benedict XVI. This is what has kept people from having that sense of loss and sadness that happens when a pope dies.”

But they are sad too. “I talked to people,” my friend said, “asking what they would say to Benedict if they could, and they all said, ‘Stay with us, stay with us, stay with us,’ over and over again.”

Read the rest.


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