Late August Stirrings in Rome
This morning, Deo volente and despite United Airlines, your correspondent is more or less standing, jetlagged but alert, in Rome. It’s an odd time to be here. Ferragosto(named after the August Feast of the Assumption) is Italian vacation time. Virtually everyone is away and many shops, pharmacies, and even restaurants are closed or on reduced schedules.
But this year, Pope Francis – who doesn’t take vacations – has decided that over the next five days he will hold an “ordinary consistory” to make 20 new Cardinals, visit L’Aquila (the burial place of Celestine V, the last pope prior to Benedict XVI to abdicate), and preside over a couple of days of discussions by the world’s Cardinals – an “extraordinary consistory” – about the future of the Church and the world.
The Vatican almost never schedules large events at this time of year. The oddness of the scheduling alone has given rise to all sorts of dark Roman rumors.