White Smoke?!

Running to the Vatican

Timing is everything, and what a fantastic idea to spend the evening shopping in Prati, just in time to hear that the white smoke had indeed appeared over the Sistine Chapel. Only a 5 minute sprint to St Peter’s Square and there I was waiting in the rain with thousands of the faithful for the historic event. Waiting for nearly an hour I might add. But my Catholic Grandma in Bradford would have been proud. 
   We didn’t know who the new pope was, just that there was one and that he was a Catholic … (awful joke, sorry, I’ve already heard it too many times). And then the announcement was made. In Latin. So nobody understood. A kindly gentleman had to translate to the group around me. Argentinian, a Jesuit (so not a Catholic then?), Francis I. The first ever South-American pope and the first non-European pope for one thousand years.

Sorry for the poor quality shot, like everyone else, I just had my phone.

   Finally, the man himself made his entrance. With Pinter like pauses, he began with, “Brothers and sisters, Buona sera.” Everybody laughed.
   Why this election has made such an impact I don’t know, the rare resignation of Benedict, the need to fill the 24 hour news cycle staring at a chimney, the hint of conspiracy and scandal, the twitter/instant message/photo generation or simply that I live in Rome and even for a cynic like myself it’s difficult not to get caught up in the drama. Che emozione! But anybody who talks about ‘the scandal of poverty and social exclusion’ is ok by me. Habemus Papam, we have a new pope.


  1. Its great to see that the Catholic church has been brave enough to break with tradition, has had the vision and prescience to replace an aged crusty old fart with, ….. hmmm.


  2. wow – talk about being where it happens!!! There'll be fewer cricked necks as people don't need to stare up at the chimney now!!, Vicky x


  3. What a wonderful summary of the white smoke event. Yes-using buses and worrying about the poor is a good start-I do it all the time. But I was an honourary member of the gay liberation front in the 70's so I guess I am different!
    Carolyn G. x


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