Rorate Caeli

The speech that wasn't

Many news agencies and weblogs reported with great joy the words pronounced by Pope Benedict XVI to the Swiss bishops today.

Except that they were not pronounced by him. Or by anyone else.

The speech which was made public today was the one which had been written for John Paul II, and which he would have probably delivered in February 2005, had he not been too ill to do so.

So, this afternoon, the Holy See Press Office stated: "The speech by the Holy Father published today in the Bollettino della Sala Stampa n. 556 regarding the meeting with the bishops of Switzerland was not pronounced. It reflected the content of a draft previously prepared for the ad limina visit of the Swiss bishops which took place in 2005." The speech has disappeared from the Bollettino and the actual papal words to the Swiss bishops will be published tomorrow.


Well, those speechwriters are pretty good. One could just sense the professoral tone filled with German clarity! [Irony Alert: This is for those who like to read too much into the "style", rather than the content, of most contemporary papal writings.]

The tragedy of it all is this: the condition of the church (in Switzerland and elsewhere) has not improved one bit since February 2005 -- and that is why the draft seemed so up-to-date.