Monday, February 24, 2014

Lagniappe: The Pope's Letter

I'm not quite done yet passing along amusing stories from H.V. Morton's A Traveller in Rome. Here's one from his tour of the Vatican. I'd like to think that now, as back in 1957 when this book was published, there are still no ads at the Vatican post office. Is even the Vatican still that otherworldly?
A few paces up the hill and you come to the most delightful post-office in the world. It is a marble hall without a single advertisement. There is a marble table in the centre at which you can sit, generally in company with the inevitable Franciscan, and write a telegram or a cable. This central office handles the Pope's private mail and delivers to his secretary about a thousand letters every day, some from lunatics and eccentrics. When Benedict XV was very old, he received a letter from an excited lady who wrote that she had a private message from God to say that the Antichrist was already in the world and would reveal himself in a few years' time. It is said that the aged Pope handed the letter to his secretary with a smile, saying, 'Thank God, that will be the concern of my successor!'

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