A curious story in the Hun this morning: Hungry Pope sneaks out for a snack
Pope Benedict XVI snuck out of the Vatican in secret to enjoy a bite to eat at a nearby restaurant. The Pontiff, who is normally guarded by a huge security entourage, reportedly tucked in to a fish dinner in a small, family restaurant 150 yards from the Vatican walls, Italian media reported today. He apparently timed his unofficial trip to coincide with the Italian soccer team’s first World Cup game against Paraguay so that he could slip unnoticed through the empty streets as locals concentrated on the game.
The claims, confirmed by a shocked waiter, were the subject of fevered speculation in the Italian media after they first appeared in a gossip column yesterday. However bosses at the Al Passetto di Borgo, reportedly one of Benedict’s favorite dining haunts before his ascent to the papacy, dismissed the claims today, Italian news agency ANSA said. The restaurant’s manager also scoffed at suggestions that the Pope would order sole, claiming the 83-year-old Pontiff preferred to eat spaghetti carbonara or German dishes.
“Vatican sources” also poured scorn on the suggestions, which appeared in Italian paper, Il Foglio, telling ANSA they were “entirely untrue”. The sources said there were no specific rules preventing the Pope from popping out for a bite to eat but said he had simply not chosen to do so since taking office. However they told ANSA that his predecessor, John Paul II, had regularly ‘escaped’ the Vatican for walks in the countryside around Rome.
One likes to think that this is a true story, and that the Holy Father likes to break free every now and again. It was one of the endearing habits of JPII, as the story notes, and even Pope Benedict shocked his minders on the day after his election by going for an unguarded stroll across St Peter’s Square to his old digs.