Monday, March 15
Fun at the Vatican
Thursday morning found us in the driving rain looking for the entrance to the Teutonic College in order to hear mass said by Der Panzerkardinale Ratzinger.
"My professor found the first evidence for beer nuts in Western Civilization, and unsurprisingly, it was in St. Augustine." (Emily, of course)
"Why do you seek the living among the dead?" (Fr. Buckner, a fellow Catholic Nerd we met in supremely random Roman fashion, introduces himself at the Teutonic College’s cemetery)
"Deo Optimo Maximo...to God the highest thing. Literally, it means, Dude!!!" (Fr. Buckner deciphers a tombstone at the Campo Santo Teutonico)
"…and you'll hear lots of screams and a bunch of shouting in Spanish." (Fr. Buckner describes visiting the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, ex the Holy Office)
Rich: (to Kristin, who discovered she was disqualified for the papal throne along with schismatics and heretics) But you'd make a mighty fine anti-Pope in my book
"Ha ha!" (His Revd. Eminence Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, upon Brian’s request to sign a tee shirt)
Then we shuffled off and waited in line under collapsing umbrellas to get tickets to the Musei Vaticani. It was definitely worth the wait, if only for the comments the exhibits resulted in. My friends, on seeing, at the Pinacoteca, a vivid painting of a zebra getting mauled by a leopard decided it would make an excellent painting for Cardinal Ratzinger’s waiting room…
"But I want the dumb zebra of heresy..."
"And paint a miter on the leopard…"
And on a smirkey bust of Pope Leo XIII:
"Anyone would look evil from that angle."
" 'Smiley-er than the average Pope.' That should be a slogan."
The previous day, there had been much pontifical fun as well, with the papal audience, a high point of the trip. However, the long wait led to general antsiness among the pilgrims:
"I wish they had a Pope impersonator to come out and entertain us." (Brian, on the joys of a two-hour wait for the papal audience)
"So you want a warm-up comedian for the Pope?" (Matt)
"At least it hasn't turned that ugly seventies yellow color." (Matt comments on the futuristic architecture of the Paul VI audience hall)
"Do you think they'll beam down the Pope?" (Brian comments on the futuristic architecture of the Paul VI audience hall)
"He looks like Luther!" (Matt attempts to describe a tonsured Augustinian he'd noticed)
"What if the Pope pulled a CP30 and started floating in his chair?" (Brian, once again)
Then there were comments on our neighbors, who seemed to be some Italian mountain troops in silly hats and a concourse of Protestant bishops in very Roman cassocks and very flashy episcopal jewelry:
"I think only Pentecostal bishops are allowed to have bling-bling."
The audience itself was amazing; the Pope did not float in his chair, though he yawned a bit and blessed us. We all certainly had memorable thoughts about seeing him. But I think Emily should have the last word this time, considering in the space of two minutes afterwards we met respectively our old prayer-group leader from ND and a girl from my home parish in Tallahassee:
"You know you're Catholic when you meet more people you know in Rome than you would walking down the street at home."