Tuesday, 10 July 2007

The Emperor's Old/New Clothes

From today's Independent, by Peter Popham:

The magnificent papal wardrobe has been steadily modified since Vatican II. Pope Paul VI symbolically laid his splendid tiara on the altar of St Peter's at the end of the council; it was sold and the proceeds donated to charity. Benedict has yet to buy it back, but he has repeatedly stunned Vaticanologists with the variety of archaic hats, capes and other adornments he chooses to sport. In his first winter as Pope he donned the snug, Santa Claus-like "camauro" hat, red velvet with a border of white ermine (see right), which had not been worn since John XXIII, who died in 1963. He also affected the "galero", a cowboy-like number in red, and the "greca", the ankle-length cashmere overcoat last worn by Pope Pius XII. He has also moved to restore some of the dignity of the Pope sacrificed by his predecessors in the interests of humility and conciliation. Benedict has been photographed seated in the little-used golden throne in the Vatican's Sala Paolina, where Pius XII used to receive important visitors on their knees.

I wonder what he's wearing on his holidays, devoted to walking, the thinking of deep religious thoughts and the gathering of woodland fruit, according to an ever-fawning Italian press. Something light and cool, I suppose, silk camiknickers, perhaps, last honoured by a papal arse three centuries ago; as flimsy as the vain old slapper's moral authority.

Nobody's bothered to tell us whether the lovely Georg is a-nutting and a-berrying with him.

(Update: On tonight's TV news, Georg was three paces behind as Eggs walked, and thought, and walked, in his simple monastic way, surrounded by other befrocked old men and, obviously, security. Security which is costing the Italian government over €40,000. Enjoy the break, Eggs! We'll pay for the omelette.)

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