Sunday, May 29, 2005

Points to note about Bari...

I wasn't able to follow the entire liturgy on television, but having spoken to friends who did, read the press reports and read the homily, I note the following interesting points:
1. The Holy Father arrived at Bari this morning and made his way back to the Vatican minutes after the Mass. It seems that this is going to be Benedict's style - a very businesslike approach. I get the impression that despite a genuine concern and care for people he finds the social 'meet and greet' aspect of the Papacy more draining than his predecessor did.
2. Amongst the party of dignitaries welcoming him to Bari was the Honourable Nichi Vendola, president of the region of Puglia. Mr Vendola was surprisingly elected President of Puglia in April, is a philosopher, writer, member of the 'Communist Refoundation' party, is associated with 'Pax Christi', describes himself as a believer, is openly gay and sports two earrings. We await the reaction of the Italian media and fear that Novus Ordo Watch will have a field day.
3. The Swiss Guards were there! This is a novelty - the Corriere della Sera notes that with the exception of the late Holy Father's trip to Switzerland the Swiss Guards don't usually go on Apostolic journeys.
4. At the end of the Mass the Holy Father stayed on a little longer after all the other bishops had left the sanctuary to wave to the crowd. He walked around a little (to the consternation of his security detail) and it was very interesting to see Marini take his orders from Mons. Georg Ganswein (known as Monsignore Georg about the city) the Pope's Private Secretary.

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