The Vatican has sharply cut back the number of political audiences to prevent the Pope being exploited by visiting politicians looking for headlines.This seems to match what I'm seeing on the ground - without a doubt, Benedict is not granting as many audiences as Pope John Paul did.
From now on, only heads of government and heads of state will be granted an audience with the pontiff.
A set of tough new rules has been drafted to protect 79-year-old Pope Benedict XVI from the flood of requests that arrive daily.
The Vatican outlined the rules in a letter to papal nuncios, its ambassadors abroad. One month's notice is needed and meetings will be restricted to Friday and Saturday mornings.
If there are several heads of state in Rome for a summit, they will meet the Pope at the same time.
Monday, May 08, 2006
Pope to meet fewer politicians...
From the Telegraph: