Saturday, December 17, 2005

A manual on how to be Pope

I always whine whenever I have to start a new job. Imagine if your new job was as Bishop of Rome! Now that would really give you a good reason whine! I suppose Papa Benedetto already sort of knew the ropes, since he worked for the Holy See for decades.

Anyway, technically there is no "handbook" for the position. But recently Chronicle Books published a funny little self-help book, "How to be Pope: What to Do and Where to Go Once You're in the Vatican." My friend Lauren mentioned this book as a possible Christmas present for yours truly ;) Imagine my shock to find a review of it (from the Oregonian) posted on Vatican Watcher! Here's an excerpt of the review, which you can find in its entirety here:

What language will you speak? How many do you know? John Paul II was fluent in at least seven, but Latin is the lingua franca of Vatican City. Even the automated teller machines use Latin as their principal language. Marchant includes a list of essential Latin words...

Where is the nearest drugstore? Tucked within the Vatican walls is a pharmacy that fills about 6,000 prescriptions per month. But it doesn't carry magazines or batteries.

Can your mother be a saint? Maybe. Just remember, Marchant says, "the prestige and credibility of the church is at stake. On any day, as many as 15,000 candidates may be standing in line, but you get to decide who proceeds directly to veneration, beatification and canonization.

Who else lives in Vatican City? About 1,100 residents live there full time and about 95 percent are men. There is, Marchant observes, no birth rate.

What else do you need to know? Much, much more. See the book for tips on the papal wave (more up and down than side to side), explanations of exorcism and excommunication (and try not to confuse them), papal travel (no, you don't have to stand in line at customs) and your medical benefits (no deductible and no out-of-pocket expense).
Very clever ;)

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