“Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.”
― Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Pope Francis generated headlines (nothing new about that) in the past week. This time it was his comment that he figures his pontificate might be brief – perhaps only four or five years.
This might happen for one of two reasons. First, being relatively old, he might die. Second, he might decide, like his predecessor, to retire. I think he was musing more than predicting.
He also admitted that he wishes he could just go out anonymously and wander into one of the local pizzerias and have a pizza. I can understand this desire, having been to Rome a number of times and feasted there on the world’s most wonderful pizza.
(Digression…I live in Chicago, which has the best pizza in the Western Hemisphere. It is way better than that limp stuff New Yorkers call pizza. But even Chicago pizza is a half step lower than Roman pizza. Of course, you could make the case that they are very different styles of pizza and essentially complete different foods, but that is a debate for another place and time.)
Anyway, to live in Rome and be unable to just stroll down the parkway to the nearest pizza joint would be awful. It certainly is among the greatest sacrifices the Holy Father makes in his service to the Church—and all of us.
I have to think there is a way to address this:
- He has proved to be creative and resourceful, so maybe he could come up with a clever disguise ala Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty during World War II. A couple Swiss Guards could tag along, but they would have to trade their blue-and-gold pajama suits for khakis to look like tourists.
- The Vatican staff could chip in and rent out an entire pizza parlor for an afternoon and throw the boss a party. Swiss guards could surround the place and keep their fancy pants.
- I bet there is a nearby pizza place that would set up shop in the Vatican cafeteria.
- If all else fails, there must be a decent pizza shop in Rome that delivers.
Please, people of the Vatican, don’t let Pope Francis spend the rest of his papacy pining for a pizza. You don’t want him walking in the Vatican Gardens muttering, “pizza pizza everywhere, but not a crust to chew.”