On the occasion of Pope Benedict's Birthday I was looking through ... sentimental old thing that I am ... some photographs in a glossy book which someone gave me very soon after his Inauguration. I was horrified to find a couple of photos of him, walking apparently unprotected, amid a crowd of exuberant young people. He was just about to kiss a baby, holding its cheeks between his hands; his face laughing in genuine pleasure and, in his eyes, that shy but warm and gentle look.
How can this be? We know that babykissing and such business was an innovation by Pope Francis because of all his humility ktl.. The Media have explained that it was how he showed how different he was to the stuffy pompous popes who went before him. These photographs must be forgeries!
Even more confusingly, I have seen a very recent videoclip showing Pope Francis going through the square in the popemobile on a day when it had been raining until a quarter of an hour before. The circumambient Security Men had obviously been given instructions that Babies And Cripples Is Off Today, because none was thrust up at the Pontiff. But ... stay!! the Popemobile has stopped! Somebody is carrying a white thing up to the Pope ... have the Bowels of Pontifical Mercy finally burst open? ... could it be a baby? ... it would have to be a very small one ... Ah no! It's just someone bringing him a dry skull-cap ...
I suppose there must still have been some moisture in the air. And we old gentlemen do have to look after ourselves.